Researchers Tessa Kaufman (Utrecht University) and Laura Baams (University of Groningen) are the first to use nationally representative data to reveal the school experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) school pupils in the Netherlands.
The LGBT youth who participated in this study identified as being attracted to adolescents of the same gender and/or as a gender other than the one assigned to them at birth. The experiences of these LGBT youth were compared to those of their heterosexual, cisgender peers. ‘Our research showed that LGBT youth were more likely to be bullied by school staff, such as teachers or other staff, and that this was also more likely to take place in locations where there was a lack of supervision, such as changing rooms, toilets, bicycle or car parks, or online,’ explains Tessa Kaufman, assistant professor at Utrecht University. The LGBT youth in this study also felt less safe to report these experiences. If the LGBT youth did report their experiences, they were less likely to do so at school or to their parents, but were more likely to report to the police. But, for LGBT youth, their reports were subsequently less likely to be resolved than those submitted by their heterosexual, cisgender peers.
‘Our findings demand that action be taken, for example to better monitor the experiences of LGBT youth. Schools should, for instance, have to provide clearer information, right from the start of the school year, about how to report bullying, also anonymously if desired. In addition, it is extra important to work on safe schooling for everyone; for example, in the form of GSAs (gender and sexuality alliances).’
Riekje Stokes (56) studied psychology and specialized herself in psychological interviewing. Now she has her own company, Stokes Interrogation Strategy, and she trains, coaches and advises professionals engaged in truth-finding communication.
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