Bullying of 2SLGBTQIA+ Students: The impacts and what educators can do about it.

AuthorLawrence, Rin


Reading Time: 4 minutes

2SLGBTQIA+ students are at a higher risk of experiencing bullying and mental health concerns, but educators can take proactive and preventative steps to create inclusive learning environments.

OPINION | The views expressed in this article are those of the author.

Students of all ages have first-hand experiences with bullying and harassment in schools. Their experiences may be different than adults as they do not have the language or worldly experience to understand oppressive systems and to defend themselves. School staff can and should interrupt these experiences, both proactively and when they occur. Proactive intervention includes educating all students, staff, and families about harm and how to prevent it. Prevention and education are well within a school's ability to affect and must be prioritized to ensure that all students feel welcome, safe, and included throughout their education.

Studies show that Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual/Aromantic and plus (2SLGBTQIA+) students have a much higher risk of being the targets of harassment, as their identities do not conform to societal norms.

Egale's second climate survey on homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia in Canadian schools outlines the enhanced bullying that 2SLGBTQIA+ students face compared to their cisgender heterosexual peers. For these statistics, the acronym 2SLGBTQ represents those who responded to the survey specifically. Respondents were between grades 8 and 12 in Canadian schools and responded to multiple questions about their experiences in school.

A few survey findings:

* 2SLGBTQ youth were four times more likely to experience verbal harassment than their cisgender peers and three times more likely to have the harassment target their expression of masculinity or femininity.

* 57% of trans students specifically reported being the target of mean rumours or lies. These incidents are also not uncommon, as 64% of respondents heard homophobic comments daily or weekly.

* 34% of respondents reported physical harassment at school, with 35% never telling an adult about their experience. Of those trans students that did tell an adult about the incident, 79% said staff were ineffective in addressing the harassment.

* 62% of 2SLGBTQ respondents feel unsafe at school, with 76% of trans students reporting feeling the most unsafe.

Impacts on Mental Health

The mental health...

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