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Heterosexism and Homophobia

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  • Pages: 7
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  • Category: Life

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Heterosexism and homophobia in the school environment. In the United States, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network publishes the results of the National School Climate Survey every two years on the school experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. It shows that the manifestations of homophobia in schools are plural and take sometimes the appearance of a physical violence, sometimes those of a less direct denigration. 40.1% of 7261 students surveyed in the 2009 school year reported having been physically abused because of their sexual orientation, and 27.2% because of gender non-compliance3. Respondents also report the popularity of insults and homosexual remarks in school to minimize an individual, a thing or an event.

Canadian studies at the local, provincial or national level confirm these findings. Non-heterosexual students in the greater Montreal area report living in a homophobic school environment that is intolerant of sexual diversity. According to the BC Adolescent Health Survey, LGB adolescents are more likely than heterosexuals of the same age to report being victimized, excluded from school activities, or physically attacked at school in the year preceding the survey. The First National Climate Survey on Homophobia in Canadian Schools outlines the importance of the role that gender nonconformity can play in school-based discrimination. More than half of LGBTQ4 students and one-quarter of heterosexual students report having been verbally harassed at school because of their gender nonconformity. For example, a heterosexual adolescent may be subject to homophobic violence because his ‘overly feminine’ appearance unites him in spite of sexual diversity.

The construction of sexual norms and that of the masculine and feminine genres are closely related processes. Studies have shown that homophobic intolerance is also applicable to any individual whose characteristics or behavior diverge from models of masculinity and femininity, regardless of their sexual orientation. For several authors, homophobia is a means of imposing hegemonic masculinity within the group of men.Hegemonic masculinity refers to the dominant type of masculinity in the cultural representations of a given society.Homophobia can also play a role in the construction of female identity. In fact, whether they target men or women, homophobic practices are rooted in the same socio-political system that produces the differentiated positions of men and women in the social relations of sex. Homophobia directed against men can be used to punish those who jeopardize what the privileged position of men and the subordinate position of women rest. According to Hamilton , women who adopt homophobic behaviors against other women can do so to assert in their own eyes and those of others a female identity that receives the approval of men. Homophobic practices, which can be described as lesbophobic when directed towards women, are intended to reassign lesbians and women who adopt attitudes that do not conform to normative expectations related to their gender, the women’s category.


The documented impacts of episodes of homophobia are numerous and affect both academic achievement and the mental health of youth who are victims . According to a review of the effects of bullying, many of the immediate consequences of victimization can have a major impact on the performance of victimized students and on their ability to continue their academic progress. For LGBTQ students, anxiety about negotiating their visibility or anticipating peer taunts would also have a negative impact on their sense of safety and belonging to the school. According to GLSEN data, a significant proportion of these students report not feeling safe at school. Many would miss classes or absent for a full day for this reason. They are also more likely than their heterosexual peers not to want to finish high school or not to go to university. These data were collected from young people attending school and do not include those who have already left the ranks. School pathways are influenced by several psychosocial, family, institutional, socio-economic and cultural variables, the effects of which are twisted and grow over time. However, absenteeism, perceived insecurity, a low sense of belonging to the school and limited educational aspirations are all indicators of increased risk of dropping out of school, or of less academic perseverance.

The impacts of homophobia in schools differ little from those of other types of peer discrimination. However, we know little about the potential disparities in the effects of homophobia on school perseverance based on the self-identification of the students who are victims of homophobia, or the way in which these effects decline according to the frequency of victimization episodes. Three research questions will mark this article. How can homophobic violence reported in high school vary according to the profile of the students who are victimized? Are the impacts of homophobia on school perseverance the same for heterosexual or non-heterosexual students? Do these impacts worsen when victimization is more frequent?


As part of the research ‘The Impact of Homophobia and Homophobic Violence on Student Persistence and Success’ , 2,747 students in the 3rd and Secondary 56 of 30 public schools, spread across Quebec, completed a self-administered questionnaire between February and June 2009.7 Sampling was done in two stages: first by selecting institutions, taking into account their size, location and language of instruction, then by selecting classes where all students were invited to respond. The response rate obtained was high, considering that 90% of the number of questionnaires initially targeted were actually completed. Our survey is therefore representative of Québec as a whole, which contributes to the durability and reliability of the data and facilitates more detailed statistical analyzes, while respecting the criteria for their application

Measures of homophobic victimization and school perseverance.The questionnaire focused on perceptions of school climate related to sexual diversity and homophobia, and the possible impacts of homophobic victimized heterosexuals, non-victimized LGBTs and victimized LGBTs. This variable was named ‘Class of Students’. Finally, a ‘Victimization Score’ was created by adding the victimized heterosexuals, non-victimized LGBQs and victimized LGBTs. This variable was values ​​obtained to estimate the frequency of victimization. So, a student who has never lived whoever would have all experienced them several times a week would get a score of 36. whereas a student exclusion of non-victimized students after one or the other of the proposed types of incidents obtains a victimization score of 0, . This score whoever would have all experienced them several times a week would get a score of 36. After measures the frequency of incidents, not their severity. So,weak OR WELL he or she got hustled, hit, kicked less than once, a score of 4 may mean that a student has been insulted, teasing badly many times by times a week and has been the subject of gossip in order to damage his reputation.

School perseverance was measured using four variables. The first, absenteeism start of this school year, have you ever missed school days because you did not want to due to a feeling of insecurity in school? The second variable, having changed or wanted to change schools, start of this school year, have you ever missed school days because you did not feel well? Have you ever changed OR wanted to change high school because you not safe? The third, referring to achieve.ment. The responses were divided between the stated desire to pursue educational aspirations : What is the highest level of education that you expect to achieve? The fourth variable, Composed of sense of belonging to the school environment, was assessed through the Psychological Sense of 18 items, it helps determine how much the students feel personally School Membership, a standardized psychometric scale. Composed of accepted, respected, understood and supported by others in their school.

The 18 items, it helps determine how much the students feel personally The pupils were asked to indicate their level of agreement on a five-point Likert-type scale, ranging from accepted, respected, understood and supported by others in their school. The 1 to 5. By adding the answers for each to indicate their level of agreement on a five-point Likert scale ation on school perseverance. To measure homophobic victimization, we asked the following question followed by a list of nine types of incidents: Since the beginning of the school year, how often have you personally experienced the following situations because you think that you are gay, lesbian or bisexual OR because you are gay, lesbian or bisexual?


Homophobia episodes at school target self-identifying students LGBT, but also those who claim to be heterosexual, suggesting that it is not the homosexual or bisexual orientation that these episodes punish, but the derogation any one of the implicit norms of masculinity or femininity. Moreover, it seems that equal victimization, the effects on school perseverance are more pronounced among students LGBT only among their heterosexual peers. It can be concluded that LGBT youth more likely to internalize the negative perceptions of homosexuality conveyed by their peers and less able to distance themselves cognitively. Also, we can assume that they are less likely than victimized heterosexuals to be able to rely on the support of their friends or family members, to the extent that denouncing homophobia could bring them to disclose their orientation in spite of themselves.

These results inform several lines of intervention to counter homophobia in schools and to minimize the impact on the perseverance of young people who are victims. Firstly, they raise the need to put an end to the trivialization of certain forms of homophobia to encourage a global concerted and coherent intervention led by all the actors in the field school. These actions should be based on an explicit policy against


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