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School can be a very stressful situation for everyone. But for LGBTQ indivudals, it can be a lot harder.

Unite looked at why this is; in 2012 a survey was carried out in the UK. Over 1,600 students were asked a number of questions regarding LGBTQ views within schools. It was found that 55% experience homophobic bullying in British schools and 90% heard phrases such as ‘that’s so gay’ or ‘you’re gay’ in school.

I think the main reason to why this is happening shows in the next figure, 53% of those students are never taught about being LGBTQ. Highschool for many is an extremly tough time, with young adults developing at an alarming rate, we can’t expect them to know everything. Lessons such as Sex Education is taught, so why isn’t Sexual Orentation included in this lesson?

It’s showed that 80% of teachers in the UK have not been taught how to deal with homophobic bullying, which angers me as today’s LGBTQ need protecting. How can we trust the school systems if they aren’t well equipped?

These facts and figures only show a tiny percentage of the reality of what LGBTQ indivudals face at school. So we asked the Unite community for their opinions.

Lydia:

lyds

Attending a Catholic institution meant that the entirety of my sex education through my PSHCE class was purely on how at a certain age you (a cis female) would have a period.

The boys and girls were separated during this class, and nothing more was discussed. Instead, we would move onto non – smoking campaigns, don’t commit crime and stay away from drugs talks.

What would have been great is if we had talked about sexuality and gender, as it’s something that could have helped a lot of people like myself from an earlier age to become comfortable being who and what they are. The chances of this happening in a Catholic school are very slim as only certain views are taught, and whilst there was no direct discrimination towards LGBT people, the lack of awareness and discussion isn’t okay, in my opinion. I was sort of out in sixth form, and none of the teachers had a problem with it at all, some even had already suspected it.

However, some of my peers took the opportunity of me coming out in order to spew homophobic remarks and thrust stereotypes upon me, which admittedly, did end up hurting me a little. I first came out as bi, as I thought I was at the time, and was called a slut.

The boy who said this to me had asked me out many times to which I always politely said no, but ensured our friendship was still there. Obviously it wasn’t anymore and he has since spread awful rumours about me, purely because I’m gay. I’ve been repeatedly asked by boys “So are you still sure you’re gay?” to which the answer is always yes. This was also a little annoying. My best friend even had slurs thrown at her after I came out, as a boy in her class tried to insinuate me and her were an item, and he used a derogatory term I don’t wish to repeat.

However, during that incident the teacher did step in and he was punished for what he said, which again, assured me that the staff were not discriminatory. I would also like to say that a couple people were really supportive when I came out to them, my theology class in particular were so happy for me and we shared a nice moment.

My theology teacher who was super religious was also great with me coming out, regardless of any past beliefs and I never felt as though they had any hate towards me because of my sexuality. A thing I would like to say about being one of the very few openly gay people in my Catholic school was that by coming out, I had unknowingly made it okay for others to come out, and that made it so worth it.

Shortly after I came out, so did my good friend, and everyone in our year were really supportive of him for doing so which was incredible. I don’t know if we had many more LGBT people in our school, and I wish we would have had some sort of society like my friends had in their other schools.

I feel like that’s a step that all schools need to take, as regardless of religious beliefs, there are bound to be a number of LGBT kids in every school, and to have no awareness or obvious support available is very isolating and can make figuring out yourself and all that comes with it very difficult indeed.


Leah:

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As I walk through the hallways, all I hear are the names people shoot out of their mouths that rip through my chest and into my lungs, where I start hyperventilating.

Fag. Dyke. Lesbo. Homo. Transvestite.

They aren’t even directed towards me and I feel the pain in my chest, and have trouble breathing. It seems so surreal in how these people treat others.

Heart. Lungs. Bones. Skin. Hair.

Most if not all of us have these things. We all have things in common. Us humans have a lot of similar qualities or tendencies, but what does that say about us? We’re all alike in one way or another, there’s no denying that.

Yes. You the heterosexual have something in common with the weird bi feminist who reads in the corner of the classroom. It’s not an impossible idea.

In a way, I understand why they say what they say. They stick to their ways. Bigotry. Humans don’t like change, we never have. But most of us love it if it’s for the right reasons, you just have to accept that we have our differences. We shouldn’t change how or who or what we love for someone else’s comfort.

Love is a powerful thing. It can make you feel things you could never explain. A lot of music is written about it, and will probably continue until the end of time. Love is something that hurts when it’s gone, the absence of love tears you to shreds. Some species will even die if their (soul)mate dies. What does that tell you about love?

Taking away the ability or power/pleasure to love is like taking away everything that makes you happy. I know some people say that you don’t need love, it’s dumb, but I beg to differ. Love is beautiful and crazy and confusing and it’s one thing that everyone sees in a different way.

No matter who you are, no matter who you love, you deserve love. Everyone deserves to love. Don’t take that away from people just because you don’t like the gender that they are or of the person they love. It’s not your life, don’t play god.

What advice would you give to someone being bullied?

I know a lot of people would say “get over it”, “it happens to everyone”, “let it happen, deal with it”, or even the common “stay strong, it’ll get better”, but I want something you’ll remember, something that will help you. Every time you feel worthless, or you want to change your sexuality, gender, sex, (etc), remember the fact that you can never change one thing, and that’s your DNA; how unique you are compared to everyone else.

Out of billions of eggs inside of a person, you were chosen. You. Not the other ones. You are unique and you have to remember to embrace it. You have to remember to keep going, keep breathing, keep living. If you are a victim of bullying, remember that you are not the problem, they are. You are you and you will never be able to change that, so embrace your individuality. Embrace what makes you different. If you can’t confront a bully, ignore them.

The reason they do it is to terrorize and upset you to get a rise out of you. If you ignore them, they may stop. If they don’t, please tell an adult. You may think they won’t care, but tell someone, anyone. It’s not right and you need to be protected and loved at all costs. You don’t deserve it.

Know that if you don’t feel important and that even though I may not know you, I love you and care about you. One day this will stop and you’ll be able to say you made it through. You will get through this. I know you will. Keep going, I’m rooting for you.


Zoe:

One problem I face since I’m trans (haven’t switched yet) is that in the new school I’m going to there is no cross dressing, meaning I can’t switch or change my appearance to male. Also a lot of my school right now is in a religion where they aren’t very fond of LGBT people. So coming out as pan was very difficult and now telling people I’m trans is insanely difficult, they don’t really see me as a “normal” friend anymore.

What could schools do to help?

Being more accepting about genders and people who change genders. Also I know a few people would not want teachers to teach that LGBT is okay but I think it would be good for kids to know.


Sammi:

sammi

In most schools in the United States they believe being part of the LGBTQ community is wrong. Most people bring religion into it and are very homophobic. When I was in middle and high school I was bullied for dating girls.

When I kept my relationships private they some how managed to find out that I was dating a girl. It made me so mad because they would call me a faggot and cuss at me. I hated to be told I was sinning. It would be nice to see schools accepting these people because its not fair that they are treated like trash. I got to the point where I was ready to commit suicide because I was bullied so bad. I was hit with books, kicked and so on. With the bullying and my health issues I was taken out of public school and put at a college to finish my senior year of high school.

I want the LGBTQ community to be accepted in schools and not have lessons on how it is wrong. Spread love not hate! Love is love!

How do you deal with the mean comments?

I try to ignore them. I delete them so they won’t bother me. I try to be positive and at least tell people to stop being jerks if its online but if its in real life I just ignore them and keep going about my business.

Amy:

My experience of being LGBT in school isn’t too great but that doesn’t mean everyone’s is bad!

Ever since I discovered I was bi (I’m not anymore, I’m questioning my sexuality ) I have decided that before telling people about personal information such as my sexual orientation I must make sure they are accepting and if they prove not to be then I’ll tell them anyway lol.

My school is generally very accepting but the students aren’t. My friends are but others are not. Being LGBTQ added to my developing anxiety. I found out I was pansexual quite a while ago but now I question it. School is a big stress hole, too much drama, too many people, JUST TOO MUCH!
I think schools could improve on the way LGBT students are treated by teaching children about how to accept it at a young age so that at secondary school (ages 11-16) , LGBT students don’t feel like they are in the wrong when they aren’t!

We want to say a special Thank You to those who got involved. It’s hightlighted clearly that schools could do a lot more for the LGBTQ community, just one step at a time. Start a lesson on sexual orentation, make young adults aware of the LGBTQ community and start pushing this world into a more peaceful and united one.

Sadly, this won’t be an over night fix. But hopefully by highlighting the issue over and over again, one day we can change schools. So the future youth of the LGBTQ community will never have to face the stress we did.

Thank you to those who got involved and shared their opinions and thank you for reading! Let us know what you thought & if you want to see a topic on a certain area, get in touch!

The Unite Team

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