Teachers that are identified as gay or lesbian are actually less likely to challenge homophobic language and behaviour in the classroom a recent study shows because of the fear of rumours and abuse being brought to their sexual orientation.
In an interview, a huge number of teachers and secretaries were questioned about how they cope with homophobic situations at their schools. A vast number that were interviewed replied that they did not feel comfortable or they were slightly “un-nerved” about “coming out” at school, with many reporting that they were particularly worried about losing their jobs.
Administrators or secretaries were found to be particularly uncomfortable to “come out” as gay.
Over half of the teachers that were interviewed reported that they had been aware of homophobic language or they had heard it being used in the tea room at work, and subsequently two-thirds reported that they had never witnessed other teachers offer to step in and defend them when such language was being used either in conversation or in malicious ways.
Around the same amount of teachers also reported that they didn’t get involved or try to tackle homophobic language or personal jibes when they were faced with them.
During the interviews it was brought to light that the people grew up in an era where being called “gay” meant you were bad, even bringing up a situation where a teacher chose to use the phrase “this is so gay” to mean “this is so stupid”, again this is classed as abusive in today’s “day and age”.
The study follows lengthy research in the United Kingdom that prioritised in stamping out homophobia in the educational environment and the results of this study are vital in the effort to end bullying and physical and mental abuse to teachers in schools colleges and universities.
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Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.