Experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer young people in Irish second-level schools.
As part of our work to create safe and supportive schools in 2019, we partnered with the Teacher College, Columbia University for our first School Climate Survey. This groundbreaking study was a first for Ireland, shining a light on the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans young people in schools across the country. To obtain a representative national sample of LGBTI+ young people, we engaged with national, regional and local organisations that provide services to or advocate on behalf of LGBTI+ youth. We liaised with our education partners, network of parents/ guardians, professionals and young people. We utilised social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat to advertise and disseminate the survey. This resulted in the largest research sample of LGBTI+ young people in schools in Ireland ever. The total number of respondents was 1,775 while the final sample consisted of a total of 788 eligible students between the ages of 13 and 20 which exceeded our target of 400 participants. The research examined indicators of a negative school experience, the efects of school climate on students, and school-based supports that can improve the lives of LGBTI+ young people. The responses to the survey paint a bleak picture of the reality of school life for LGBTI+ students in Ireland. Findings indicate that in the 2018-2019 school year, an alarming 73% of LGBTI+ students felt unsafe at school, with the majority of students experiencing homophobic remarks, many experiencing harassment and some experiencing physical and sexual assault.