Ireland’s LGBTQ+ youth charity BeLonG To has launched a survey in partnership with the Teacher’s College at Columbia University. The BeLonG To survey aims to find out what the school experience is like for LGBTQ+ students in Irish second-level education.
The ‘School Climate Survey’ asks LGBTQ+ youth to share their experiences of inclusion, isolation and bullying at school. On a wider scale, it also questions how queer students feel regarding visibility and the teaching of LGBTQ+ identities and support from school staff.
The survey is anonymous and gives participants the opportunity to enter into a draw, with possible prizes of Sony noise-cancelling headphones or one of three €150 One4all vouchers.
Share your school experience!
Help us to make all schools a safer, more supportive space for #LGBTQ+ youth. Take our survey today & enter a draw to win one of three €150 One4All vouchers!
— Belong To Youth Services (@Belong_To) July 2, 2022
In 2019, the ‘School Climate Survey’ found that 73% of LGBTQ+ students felt unsafe at school, with a further 86% of participants feeling isolated by fellow students. However, the research also revealed that queer students who felt supported by school staff were 45% more likely to feel accepted by other students and 20% less likely to miss school due to feeling unsafe.
The results of the BeLonG To survey made it clear that one supportive teacher can make an incredible difference in an LGBTQ+ young person’s secondary education. One participant shared their experience with such a teacher: “At times I wanted to leave school because my poor mental health was making it hard to pay attention and do work properly. I think I may have quit were it not for my Guidance Counsellor and Accountancy Teacher”.
BeLonG To is relaunching the survey in 2022 to find out if there have been any changes since the first recorded results in 2019. These findings will also guide the charity on the next steps to be taken in supporting LGBTQ+ youth through their training and youth services.
The online survey can be accessed by visiting belongto.org/school or clicking here. Responses will be accepted until Monday, August 8th.
BeLonG To are a registered charity in the Republic of Ireland and has been in operation since 2003. Their goal is to create a world where LGBTQ+ young people (aged between 14 and 23 years) are equal, safe and valued in the diversity of their identities and experiences. They promote regular campaigns that advocate for the rights of young LGBTQ+ folks.
The range of the work they do also extends to providing specialised LGBTQ+ youth services with a focus on mental and sexual health, alongside providing alcohol and drug support. They aim to respond to the shifting needs of young queer people in Ireland to help them thrive.
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