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Wpg Free Press — LGBTTQ+ students picked on, feel unsafe: report

March 31, 2022 — 

As the Winnipeg Free Press reports:

Student members of the LGBTTQ+ community are far more likely to be victims of targeted harassment and feel unsafe at school than their peers who are cisgender and heterosexual, Manitoba researchers have found — once again.

A decade ago, local academics partnered with advocacy organization Egale Canada to launch Every Class in Every School, a groundbreaking report on the state of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in classrooms across the country.

Researchers at the University of Manitoba and University of Winnipeg recently dusted off the document and undertook a followup survey to determine whether schools are safer for marginalized students now.

The title of their new report: “Still In Every Class In Every School,” sums up their findings.

“There’s been really important and significant improvements, which is heartening to see — but at the same time, it’s also a bit disheartening to see how little things have changed,” said Christopher Campbell, a co-investigator on the new report and PhD candidate in U of M’s faculty of education.

The initial survey, conducted throughout 2008-09, found 64 per cent of LGBTTQ+ students felt unsafe at school.

That figure dropped to 62 per cent in the 2021 edition, a 158-page document that draws from responses submitted by students in Grade 8 or higher between April 2019 and May 2020.

Upwards of 3,500 students from across the country participated in both studies, which involved a mix of multiple-choice and open-ended questions.

Campbell, alongside principal investigator Tracey Peter, presented their new findings to educators across the province this week during a lecture organized by U of M and the Manitoba Teachers’ Society.

Peter, a sociology professor at the U of M, told the audience the number of LGBTTQ+ students reporting verbal harassment related to everything from sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression has dropped over time by nine per cent, six per cent, and 10 per cent, respectively. Still, she said, far too many students are being directly targeted.

The 2021 report shows LGBTTQ+ students reported five times more verbal harassment about their sexual orientation than their cisgender and heterosexual peers.

Read the full Free Press story here.

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