“As thousands of young people return to school this week, it is both upsetting and disturbing to know that our LGBT+ youth feel unsafe in their school environment.”
The Budding Burning Issues survey, carried out as part of the 11th annual GCN Youth Issue and in association with national LGBT+ youth organisation, BeLonG To, consulted young people between the ages of 13 and 24. Following on from Burning Issues 2, carried out by GCN’s publishers in 2016, the survey sought to identify the issues that are most important to young LGBT+ people in Ireland.
70% of the respondents disagreed with the statement: “Schools in Ireland today are safe places and are fully inclusive of LGBT+ students.” 39% highlighted a serious lack of inclusive sex education, and 25% said bullying and homophobia continues to be a problem.
Despite the introduction of marriage equality in 2015, the top Burning Issue for young LGBT+ people today is a lack of acceptance and understanding. Almost half of respondents stated that there continues to be stigma around being LGBT+ in Ireland.
A lack of LGBT+ spaces and resources was also a major Burning Issue, particularly when it has been highlighted throughout the survey that young people don’t feel accepted in society and schools are not safe places for them.
More Work Needed
Speaking about the Budding Burning Issues 2017 survey, Moninne Griffith, Executive Director of BeLonG To Youth Services said: “As thousands of young people return to school this week, it is both upsetting and disturbing to know that our LGBT+ youth feel unsafe in their school environment.
“Some 36% of schools engage with BeLonG To’s Stand Up week against homophobic and transphobic bullying, but more work needs to be done across all schools so LGBT+ students are safe. The upcoming LGBTI+ National Youth Strategy gives us an opportunity to make this happen.”
According to Brian Finnegan, Editor of GCN: “While we knew that LGBT+ people continue to face stigma and prejudice, we weren’t quite prepared for the overwhelming response that acceptance is the number one burning issue for under 24s. Marriage equality, which was secured through a referendum vote in 2015, gave the impression of an Ireland that had become in the majority accepting of its lesbian and gay citizens, and the hope was that this equality would bring about an end to the stigmatisation of and discrimination against LGBT+ people in this country.”
Read the Budding Burning Issues Report below, or download it here.
The Budding Burning Issues survey was carried out for the eighth annual Youth Issue of Ireland’s LGBT magazine, and published this week in association with BeLonG To, Ireland’s national LGBT+ youth organisation.
© 2017 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.