Study reveals homophobic abuse on LGBT teachers

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A strict code of conduct is needed in schools to combat homophobic abuse, a teaching survey has revealed.

The research, conducted by the Teacher Support Network, a charity providing practical and emotional support to UK teachers and lecturers, claims two thirds of respondents from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teaching community have felt discriminated against in the workplace because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Types of harassment varied from offensive jokes or language, to rumours, name calling and abusive behaviour.

The study, which marks this month’s LGBT History Month, also claims that 71% of respondents experienced discrimination or harassment by their pupils, 46 % by colleagues, 37% experienced it from their managers and 16% from pupils’ parents.

Patrick Nash, Chief Executive of Teacher Support Network, said: “The survey shows that a large number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teachers and lecturers are suffering from stress, ill health and low self-esteem as a result of discrimination and harassment at work.”

“Some teachers and lecturers have experienced physical and sexual assault, damage to property and threatening behaviour. Not only has this led to high stress levels and sick leave, but 18% of respondents said they are scared to go to work and 11% are even scared outside of work.”

“Teacher Support Network strongly encourages all schools, colleges and universities to implement and adhere to a code of conduct relating to any form of harassment and discrimination, which will provide support and protection for staff and students alike.”

“This is especially important because 34% said their workplace does not have a code of conduct to address homophobic, bi-phobic or trans-phobic harassment and discrimination, 32% didn’t know whether their school had one, and of those that did, only 14% cent said it was properly enforced.”

Over half of the respondents said they would not be happy to come out at work, but 43% said they would tell their colleagues if they planned to have a civil partnership.