Eight out of every ten high school students have witnessed insults towards LGBTI people

A bulletin by the Third Sector Panel has called for more resources to prevent discrimination in education centers

Carrer has urged for more resources to prevent discrimination (by Elisenda Rosanas)
Carrer has urged for more resources to prevent discrimination (by Elisenda Rosanas) / Oliver Little

Oliver Little | Barcelona

November 5, 2019 02:19 PM

Eight out of every ten high school students have witnessed insults towards LGBTI people, while 6 out of every 10 also acknowledge having witnessed pejorative rumors or comments, as found by a survey carried out in central Catalonia.

12% of students admit to having participated in these comments, while two out of ten witnessed beatings and physical assaults to LGBTI friends of theirs, but only 2% admitted to participating. 

This comes from a study put together by the Anti-Homophobia Observatory included in a bulletin by the Third Sector Index, carried out in high schools of Manresa, in central Catalonia.

The bulletin stressed the importance of increasing resources to prevent this type of action in educational centers and fight against the ''invisibility'' of a phenomenon that is difficult to detect.

One of the workers behind the Observatory's survey, Cristian Carrer, has said that one of the biggest issues is that those who suffer these forms of discrimination due to their gender identity or sexual orientation do not feel in a position to explain the problem to relatives because ''they do not feel secure'' and fear that ''it would go wrong.''

President of the Third Sector Index, Francina Alsina has said that such a problem exists due to ''shame and humiliation.'' She says that ''if the problem is invisible, we will have great difficulty confronting it and responding to children and young people.''

For this reason, she says that it is essential to ''keep a register'' of instances of harassment, and to continue to ''focus'' attentions with organizations that work in this field. 

The Index demands greater economic, material and personal resources to work to prevent harassment at school and increase awareness and to also facilitate condemning these actions, alerting people of these actions, and comforting of the victims but also helping the attackers. 

Carrer highlighted that the mockery found in the Observatory's survey ''gives clues'' that there are discriminatory practices that can lead to harassment. Generally, victims are non-heterosexual people, but up to 30% do not identify themselves as such. 

For this reason, Carrer believes in the need to move away from identities although admits that there is also a need to work ''intervene in cases of oppression that end in discriminatory practices in educational spaces,'' calling on schools to work to avoid such situations and to condemn silence as being an ''accomplice''.

Carrer also highlighted that there was an element of ''normalization'' with regards to discriminatory occurrences due to sexual orientation and gender identity, which can lead to harassment.

He cites the constant presence of words such as ''faggot, carpet muncher or tranny'' as reasons for problematizing the situation. 

The Index and Observatory both demand that the integration of sexual and gender-sensitive diversity is ''more present'' in the educational space, and that it is not only in workshops and sporadic training.

The Index recalled that LGBTIphobia is the main reason for insult, mockery or rejection in educational centers.

Finally, it highlighted that hate crimes due to sexual orientation or gender identity are the third highest number of allegations made throughout the State according to data from the Spanish Ministry of Interior in 2017. The same data also showed a 20% increase since 2016.