Gary Gannon TD
Schools should be an inclusive, safe space for our students, yet the opposite is the case for many LGBTQ+ youth

The Government must be more proactive in tackling the rise of transphobia and homophobia in our schools, Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon told the Dáil today.

Deputy Gannon, who is the party’s Education spokesperson, made his comments after BeLong To published the findings of its School Climate Survey, which revealed that 76 percent of LGBTQ+ students do not feel safe in school.

“It is most unfortunate that such disturbing findings should emerge during Transgender Awareness Week and Stand Up Awareness Week. Despite the progress made in recognising the rights of the LGBTQ+ community in recent years, the results of the survey are a worrying reminder of the blatant discrimination often faced by these young people.

“The survey paints a bleak picture of secondary school life for LGBTQ+ students in Ireland today. Of the more than 1,200 young people questioned, 69 percent have heard homophobic remarks from other students, with 59 percent reporting homophobic comments from school staff.

“It is concerning that one in three students revealed they had skipped school to avoid negative treatment due to being LGBTQ+. Equally alarming is that one out of 10 students said they were unsure whether they will complete the Leaving Certificate.

“A rise in transphobia and homophobia across Ireland, which has seen an increase in violent attacks on LGBTQ+ people, cannot be allowed to continue unchecked. Schools should be an inclusive, safe space for our students, yet the opposite is the case for many LGBTQ+ youth.

“Feeling unsafe and missing vital school days out of fear can have a damaging effect on students’ secondary school education and create barriers for them in progressing to third level or pursuing future careers.

“In light of the survey’s findings, the Government needs to outline what measures it intends to take in our schools to support LGBTQ+ students.

“Intolerance must be called out and challenged at every opportunity if we are to avoid reversing the gains made in our quest for genuine equality in Ireland.

“There can be no slippage if we are to safeguard LGBTQ+ students’ futures.”

November 15, 2022

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