A comprehensive report published in November by UNESCO has found large amounts of students who identify as LGBT experience school bulling, violence and discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.
Conducted over a three-year period from 2012, From Insult to Inclusion reviewed data from 40 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and concluded the majority of LGBT students had experienced some form of bullying or violence.
While many Asia Pacific countries have legislation to protect children from school-related incidents of violence, the report found frameworks present among the education sector could be strengthened.
“Steps must be taken to further tackle discriminatory policies in schools that stigmatise or exclude LGBT and intersex students. Systems are required to monitor the implementation of these policies, report incidents and assess progress in tackling bullying and discrimination,” it read.
Among its findings, 80% of those surveyed reported bullying and violence, ranging from sexual harassment (10-20%), physical bullying (10-50%) and verbal bullying (20-80%).
One gay male Chinese told researchers he had gone through middle school suffering ongoing verbal and physical abuse. “They not only called me queer, but also sneered at me, made fun of me and bullied me ceaselessly, and even forced me to undress myself to humiliate me,” he said.
“I tried to endure, but the bullying seemed endless. Some schoolboys asked me to pay a protection fee, saying that if I paid, they would leave me alone; otherwise, they would beat or isolate me. That lasted for half a year”.
Another student, a young Vietnamese transgender person said childhood was “all sunk in desperation day after day”. “Each school day went terribly to me [sic] because I was teased by class and schoolmates. Wherever I was, I suffered finger points, bullying, stone or slippers throwing from them [sic]. They laughed at me by yelling ‘hey pe-de’.”