One third of Dutch secondary students keep a distance to gay and lesbian peers or feels insecure about having contact with them. 32% does not want to sit next to a gay classmate during lunch break. Only one third thinks homosexuality “a natural sexual orientation”.
These are some of the results of the research EduDivers, Dutch center for education and sexual diversity, presents in cooperation with GALE (Global Alliance for LGBT Education). And this homophobic attitude is not the only thing that stands out. The study also shows that young people have great difficulty with girls who are tough or show masculine behavior and boys who show sensitive or ‘girlish’ behavior. Peter Dankmeijer, director of EduDivers: “The comments of the students make clear that traditional role behavior may be the most important aspect of homophobia and transphobia among adolescents.” They don’t want any “sissy” of ”butch” behavior in school.
EduDivers has joined forces with the national teacher unions and educational authorities in a National Education Alliance for Sexual Diversity, which recently launched the “MyID” Campaign. “MyID” is short for “My Identity”, a program focused on identity development in young people, especially the development of their sexual identity. Through this campaign in schools “MyID ambassadors” are recruited who are concerned and willing to help create a safe school environment which offers space in which all young people can be themselves. Develop social skills, learning from each other and feeling safe is impossible in an intolerant environment. Dankmeijer: “Homophobic cursing in schools should not be considered harmless or an issue that is only relevant to an LGBT minority. It is a clear signal that the school environment is unsafe and that women and emotional of sensitive ‘female’ behavior is regarded as low in status and especially to be condemned in boys. If schools allow such behavior, they are actually actively supporting insecure, macho and intolerant behavior. Young people will not learn to cope with diversity and this is a direct threat to peace and stability in the world.
Some other figures:
15% consider homosexuality a “sexual deviation”.
A third of the students said that homosexuality is generally not acceptable.
22% state that gay and lesbian students are not welcome in school.
22% said that openly gay and lesbian students can count on that they will be bullied in their school.
One in five students would refuse to be friends or make homework with a gay or lesbian student.
According to the Dutch students, gay and lesbian people are not welcome:
At home (40%)
Pubs and bars (37%)
Among friends (33%)
On the Internet (31%)
Source – GoogleGroups