A survey of LGBTQ+ students found that 35.6 percent felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation, the Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association said yesterday.
Of the survey’s respondents — aged 13 to 21 — 4.9 percent said that they had skipped or missed classes at least one day in the past month because they felt uncomfortable or unsafe.
At school, 41.9 percent of respondents have often heard the word “gay” used in a negative way, while 87.2 percent said that the experiences bothered or upset them.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
The association told a news conference in Taipei that 68.5 percent of respondents said they had heard school faculty or staff making homophobic remarks, while 62.1 percent had been subject to verbal harassment in the past year due to their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Of those harassed or assaulted in the past year, 55.2 percent said they never reported the incidents to faculty or staff.
Of those who did not report incidents, 53.4 said they did not trust a faculty or staff member to effectively handle the incident, while 92.1 percent said they knew of at least one faculty or staff member at their school who supported LGBTQ+ students.
Asked about the support shown by their school administration, including the principal and department heads, only 27.7 percent of respondents said the school’s administration was supportive.
Supportive faculty and staff members are important resources for LGBTQ+ students, the association said, adding that being able to speak with an adult at school who cares about them has a positive effect on students’ learning experience.
Only 8.1 percent of respondents said their school had an LGBTQ+ student group or another student organization that discussed LGBTQ+ issues on their campus.
The survey, which aimed to understand the experiences of LGBTQ+ adolescents on school campuses in Taiwan, was conducted from July to September last year in cooperation with the New York-based LGBTQ+ group GLSEN, the association said.
The online survey collected 1,226 valid responses from LGBTQ+ students in junior-high school, high school, vocational-high school or the first three years of a five-year junior college program, it said, adding that the survey asked them about their experiences at school during the 2019-2020 academic year.
Hopefully, the results will inspire greater visibility and discussion of the experiences of LGBTQ+ students on school campuses and bring about positive improvements, the association said.
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