Gay, transgender Korean students discriminated against at school
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Gay, transgender Korean students discriminated against at school

Original article in Korean is at this link.

A study has found that half of sexual-minority students feel that they are discriminated against at school because of their sexual identities.

The survey of 221 sexual-minority teenagers under the age of 20, conducted online from July 31st to August 12th, found that 120, or 54.3%, answered “serious” or “very serious” to the question “what is the level of discrimination you experience at school due to your sexual preference (homosexual, etc.) or sexual identity (transgender, etc)?” Just eight students, or 3.6%, said “none”.

Regarding the types of harassment the sexual-minority teenagers experience at school, 136, or 61.5%, said “degrading language and bias from students for being a sexual minority”, while another 88, or 39.8%, said “degrading language and bias from teachers for being a sexual minority”. Sixty-five, or 29.4%, of the students said they had been “outed” at school against their wishes. Twelve, or 5.4%, of the students reported being harassed or groped against their will.

Sexual-minority teenagers also feel it is difficult for them to receive help from school counselors. Just 83, or 37.6%, of the students answered “yes” to the question “is there a school counselor you can go to for advice when you have problems at school related to your sexual identity?” 133, or 62%, of the students said “no”. An overwhelming 184, or 83.3%, of them said “no” to the question “is there a doctor you can go to if there is not a teacher?” Just 28, or 12.7%, said there was.

Experts say that there is an urgent need for teachers to receive human rights training because discrimination against sexual-minority teenagers at school is widespread. There is nearly no requirement for teachers to be trained regarding the rights of sexual minorities. There may be a need for every teacher to be required to receive such training. Kang Byeong-cheol, professor of health and social affairs at 삼육보건복지대, said that “there are many cases where teachers see sexual minorities being discriminated against by other students, and then laugh at them or make the situation worse. Teachers need to be trained in the human rights of sexual minorities.

There is also a need for programs to prevent sexual-minority students from being bullied and ostracized. In the United Kingdom there is a legal requirement in the “safe schools campaign” for responses to bullying of gay students, and schools must set up corresponding policies. In Ireland the law specifies that there must be policies to deal with anti-gay bullying and emphasizing respect for differences and diversity. Finland has distributed to its schools a program to combat anti-gay bullying. Countries with laws and systems have been found to be very successful in reducing anti-gay bullying.