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One in three LGBT teachers still hide their sexuality from students, according to new poll

Most closeted teachers say they'd like to be 'out' but don't feel their school is a safe environment

By Fabio Crispim

A third of all LGBTQ teachers choose to conceal their sexuality in the classroom a new poll has revealed. 

A real-time electronic poll conducted by the NASUWT teachers union at the LGBTI Teachers’ Consultation Conference on Saturday (February 10) discovered that 30% of respondents said they weren’t open about their sexuality. 

However, the true number of LGBT teachers hiding their true identity is thought to be much higher, as only those attending the conference were asked. 

38% of respondents said they’d faced discrimination or bullying at work over the last 12 months because of their sexual identity, while more than half (58%) said colleagues made stereotypical assumptions of them because of their identity. 

Almost half of all respondents wouldn’t recommend teaching as a job to their friends or family, and 29% believed the amount of homophobic bullying in schools had remained the same over recent years. 

General secretary of NASUWT Chris Keates said: “It is deeply worrying that some LGBTI teachers report experiencing and hearing more homophobic language within schools and that incidents of hate crime and hate speech have increased more generally.

“Being ‘out’ in the workplace is a matter of personal choice, but too many LGBTI teachers tell us they would like to be out but do not feel their school is a safe enviornment for them to do so.” 

He continued: “Schools which are not inclusive environments for LGBTI staff are unlikely to be supportive environments for LGBTI pupils either.

“It is important that schools take their responsibilities on promoting equality and respect seriously to create an environment where everyone feels valued, respected and safe.” 

Meanwhile, GLAAD’s annual Accelerating Acceptance report revealed that LGBT acceptance has decreased from 2016, and 31% of adults would be “uncomfortable” to discover their child was being taught by an LGBT person.