Two in five LGBT+ students have hidden who they are at university

Two in five LGBT+ students have hidden their identity on campus in fear they might be discriminated against, an eye-opening poll has shown.

According to figures released by Stonewall, around 42 percent of LGBT+ students said that they have hidden their gender identity or sexual orientation while at university in case they received a hostile reaction from their fellow students or teaching staff.

And a third of the 522 LGBT+ university students surveyed said that they have been targeted with abuse or negative comments because they are LGBT+.

(University of Iowa/Facebook)

Trans students appear to be faced with the most hostility on campus.

While almost a quarter of trans students (23 percent) are not addressed with their correct name and pronoun, seven percent have been physically attacked by another student or university staff member.

One out of seven trans students polled have considered dropping out of their course because of the level of harassment and discrimination they have faced.

“The university email system will not use my preferred name unless I change it by deed poll, an option currently unavailable to me for complex reasons, and so I am forced to see my dead name attached to every email and computer document I produce, even on my own software.” said Alex, a 22-year-old trans student in London.

“In the university, people have refused to refer to me with the proper pronouns because they ‘don’t see me as a woman’ despite me fully presenting myself as such,” said Lisa, a 21-year-old trans student in Wales.

“I have not worn a dress once for the last couple months due to the weather and as such I have been seen as ‘not trans enough.’ I have been told that I’m undermining the image of women by a number of students and it has caused me to feel unable to socialise with my peers,” she added.

“University should be an exciting time when all students can learn, grow, and enjoy their independence. But our University Report shows that discrimination and abuse continue to negatively impact the university experience for too many lesbian, gay, bi and trans students. They often don’t feel confident reporting incidents to staff, which means these incidents are left unchecked,” said Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive of Stonewall.

“The situation is especially concerning for trans students who face physical violence and are often not addressed by staff with their correct name and pronoun. This is unacceptable,” she added.

LGBT+ students from an ethnic minority also face significantly higher discrimination, with 37 percent stating they were excluded by other students, in comparison to 28 percent of all LGBT+ students.

And a staggering 47 percent of disabled students have experienced negative comments and conduct from their peers.

The statistics are also particularly troubling when it comes to bisexual students, with 22 percent of those surveyed feeling uncomfortable about disclosing their orientation.

“While many universities have made great strides to support their LGBT students, this research shows there’s still more to do. By working together with LGBT students, universities can continue to build more welcoming learning environments, so every LGBT person is accepted without exception,” Hunt added.