by The Boys’ & Girls’ Clubs Association of Hong Kong
In July 2009, BGCA has done an online survey to understand the experience of gay and lesbian students’ situations in school.
- Result: 492 questionnaires were collected.
- All respondents (492) were self-identified Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Questioining (Transgender is excluded as only 1 respondent self identified as transgender)
- Among them, 82.3% of respondents realized their sexual orientation on or before 15 years old.
- Among 492 respondents, 79.7% of respondents mentioned that their sexual identities were known by other students.
- Among those whose sexual orientations are known. 53.1% of respondents have been discriminated and bullied and more than 40% encountered verbal violence, being teased and social isolation.
- 13.5% of informants have been physically hurt or faced sexual harassment.
- Among those who have self reported to have been abused, only 60% feeling lonely and helpless, more than 22% have suicidal thought.
1. Survey results indicate that the acceptance towards homosexuality is improving, but still more than a half of gay or lesbian high school students experienced discrimination and bullying:
¨ 42.3% experienced homophobic insults and rumors
¨ 39.8% experienced isolation and decrease in contact
¨ 13.5% experienced physical harm or sexual harassment.
2. These discrimination and bullying cased great distress to LGB youths:
¨ 62.2% felt lonely and helpless
¨ 54.7% felt panic and anxious
¨ 45.9% afraid of meeting with other students
¨ 22.3% have suicidal thought
3. Schools’ sensitivity to bullying related to sexual orientation is insufficient, illustrated by only 11.5% of gay or lesbian students are willing to seek help from teachers.
4. Schools are in lack of support to gay or lesbian students, exemplified by more than a half of students indicating that the school do not have adequate information on sexual orientation and they could hardly finding a trustworthy teacher to talk with.
How to response to the discrimination against sexual orientation and homophobia bullying in school?
|Current Policy and Instructions||Problems and Shortcomings|
||- Without any legislation on sexual orientation and equality of opportunity, such instruction is not compulsory. Thereby government does not evaluate and supervise the implementation of the instructions.|
||- The instructions and curriculums did not specify sexual orientation. Such ambiguous instructions can hardly respond to the bullying problems faced by gay and lesbian teens in school effectively.- The survey indicates that the discrimination and bullying related to sexual orientation is serious. As such EDB should design a more concrete set of policy and instruction that ensure the safety of students and establish a care and no discrimination campus.|
||- The survey indicates that 25% of informants have been verbally discriminated by teachers, and they can hardly find one trustworthy teacher or social worker to talk with. It suggests that the teachers are not well-equipped enough.|
Schools can prevent and respond to the discrimination and bulling regarding sexual orientation and establish an integrated and harmony learning environment. According to a similar research conducted by a British organization called Stonewalls, it points out:
|- When schools firmly disapprove the discrimination and bullying regarding sexual orientation, such behavior s have been reduced 60%.- When schools proactively handle bulling issues, 3 times of gay or lesbian students feel support from schools more than those schools which did not, 2 times of them enjoy class and 2.5 times feel happy.
- When schools provide correct information about sexual orientation, without discrimination, students’ psychological health and sense of self-efficacy are much improved.
Suggestions to School
|1.Being open-minded to sexual orientation||- Sexual orientation only constitutes one of the multiple identities of human being. General public should not only focus on their difference with the heterosexual adolescence. Instead, focus on their common and let them enjoy the same quality and opportunity of personal development.- Schools may show a gesture of respect and acceptance so that students will feel more comfortable in sharing their problems.|
|2.Respect diversity and Modeling||- Teachers and social workers should be a role model who respects diversity. When we respect and listen to every student, student will learn about how to respect the others.|
|2.Proactive response to the problem||- More than 80% of respondents identified their sexual orientation when they were 15.- 53.1% of respondents have been discriminated and bullied and approximately 40% encountered verbal violence, being teased and social isolation.
- 13.5% of informants have been physically hurt and faced sexual harassment.
- Schools should recognize the existence of the problem and respond to it proactively.
|3.Establish discrimination-free environment||- Schools should establish discrimination-free environment by making clear to students that schools do not tolerate any form of bullying behavior. It may help to reduce the number of bullying cases.- Only 11.5% of informants sought help from teachers. If schools take a clear stance, more students will be willing to ask teachers for help.|
|4. Provide more positive information and support||- Only 36% of respondents agreed that schools have provided enough information for them to know more about sexuality.- Less then half respondents indicated “They can find one teacher or social worker that they can trust to talk to when they are bothered by sexuality.”
- Schools are responsible for helping young people to face struggle and to support them during their adolescence. However, many gay and lesbian students have not received any support from schools. Schools can play a very important role if schools can discuss sexuality with students without discrimination. It helps students have a healthy development and it helps students develop a sense of belongings to the schools.
- Schools can advocate sexuality in the curriculum of civic education, sex education, general studies. It helps students understand sexual orientation and themselves and to respect the others.
|5. Build harmonious atmosphere||- Only 1/3 of teachers indicated to their students that they respect people with different sexual orientations and was against discrimination. Ignorance is usually the main source of causing discrimination. People are afraid of getting in touch with people who are different from them.- Studies showed getting to know people who are indifferent to us are the best way to fight against discrimination. To let students to know more about sexuality and meet with gay and lesbians. It helps them how to respect others people who are indifferent from them.|
|6. Provide training to teachers||- Teachers should receive adequate training to know more about sexuality and how to handle bullying issues|
Suggestions to the government
|1. Formulate clear guidelines||- To formulate clearer guidelines. When schools implement the policy on recruitment of staff and students, curriculum arrangement, teaching arrangement, internal reviews, handling the affairs of students and teachers and so on. The guidelines should not discriminate against gay and lesbian students.- To set up a task force to follow up and evaluate the implementation of equal opportunity education in school.|
|2.Provide clear teaching materials||- To advocate sexuality and equal opportunity in the curriculum of personal development, general studies, sex. To encourage school to use the curriculum.|
TCJM and BGCA (Boys and Girls Club Association) are planning to work with TVB, Pearl report on the issue of homophobic bullying at HK schools. We will have a meeting to discuss how to present this serious issue to the general public.
At the meeting, we have gay and lesbian students, Chris Lincoln, reporter from TVB, social worker dealing with the issues, will talk about to present the program.
We need teachers who can share their views and experiences of homophobic bullying issues at school with us.
The meeting will be held as follows:
Address: To be disclosed later.
We understand it is a very sensitive issue. We will keep it confidental and anonymous.
If you are interested and will to help, please contact us.
Mobile: 9870 6213