The National Union of Students (NUS) has called for a zero tolerance approach to bullying as new research reveals that homophobic and transphobic bullying is rife within students in higher education.
Pioneering research carried out by the NUS has revealed that one in five LGB+ (lesbians, gay, bisexual or other identifying) students, and a third of trans students have experienced bullying or harassment of some form while on campus.
The research also revealed that only one in five trans people said that they feel completely safe while on campus. LGB+ students are also most likely to consider dropping out of their course than heterosexual students, with those who have experienced homophobia 2-3 times more likely to leave University.
NUS’ LGBT Officers Sky Yarlett and Finn McGoldrick said: ‘This research confirms our fears about the impact that isolation, discrimination and coming out has on LGBT students. It’s appalling to hear that LGBT students don’t feel safe in an educational environment and are experiencing bullying just because of who they are.
‘We can no longer ignore the plight of LGBT students. We absolutely need to enforce zero tolerance policies for homophobic and transphobic behaviour.’
A staggering 51 per cent of trans students have considered dropping out of their course because of overwhelming transphobic bullying.
A focus group conducted as part of the research found that the main difficulties facing trans students on campus are the lack of gender neutral toilet facilities, issues with university security services and the levels of transphobia they experience.
While calling for clearer policies within universities on enforcing the zero tolerance approach to homophobic and transphobic bullying, the NUS says the current polices can be vague, and that some universities do not have any policies on LGBT bullying in place at all.
The union has also recommended that staff need more training on LGBT issues to enable them to offer support to students and to improve information and services available to LGBT students.
Ryan Johns 12 May 2014 Current events Read the full story.
The full report, Education beyond the straight and narrow can be found here.
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