PARIS (AFP) — More than half of European students who are LGBTQI have been subjected to bullying because of their sexual orientation, a report published by UNESCO on Monday said.
Some 80 percent of respondents said they had heard negative remarks addressed at others because they were believed to be LGBTQI, according to the report, compiled by the International LGBTQI Youth & Student Organisation (IGLYO).
It said more than two thirds of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or intersex students polled had themselves been targeted by negative comments.
IGLYO questioned 17,000 aged 13 to 24 for the study that was conducted in 2019.
“Everyone says you can be whoever you want, you can be free, you can express yourself at school. And then if you try to be different, you get backlash,” a statement by the UN’s cultural agency quoted a 19-year-old pansexual non-binary intersex student as saying.
Most students said they had never reported bullying incidents to any school staff, the survey found.
“Despite changes in many countries’ national discourse, many LGBTQI students still feel un-safe and unwelcome in school,” said IGLYO Interim Executive Director Jonathan Beger.
Many teachers, the report found, “lack the confidence and knowledge to support LGBTQI learners”.
UNESCO and IGLYO called on governments and schools to improve teaching programmes to introduce LGBTQI people, their history and their experience.
“These efforts must be complemented by training and empowering teachers to deliver inclusive curricula so they can impart knowledge and address incidents and threats effectively,” they said.
Monday’s report release marks the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia that was created in 2004.
On the same date in 1990, the World Health Organization decided to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.
The day is recognised by several countries and international organisations including the UN, with most UN agencies organising events for the occasion.
© Agence France-Presse