In Summer 2017, the National LGBT rights organization LGL carried out an anonymous survey in which respondents – 644 LGBT* high school students between the ages of 14 and 18 – elaborated on what LGBT* adolescents face in Lithuanian school settings. LGL’s survey showed that half of LGBT* young people feel unsafe in Lithuanian schools because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
LGL’s survey revealed that only 5% of LGBT* students have never experienced homophobic, biphobic or transphobic hate speech in educational settings. Surveyed students openly spoke out about what is taught during classes and what LGBT* students, who are still in the process of discovering their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, experience in Lithuanian schools.
“Once during a lesson the teacher said that people of the other sexual orientation are ill and gave examples of how a person can recover from this,” told one student who participated in LGL’s survey. “This topic is a taboo in our school. Neither teachers, nor school staff talk about LGBT* issues and our library contains just one book from LGL about homophobic bullying,” explained another student.
LGBT* students are forced to go through traumatic bullying incidents alone because teachers and school staff not only do not know how to properly react to this type of bullying but also often initiate bullying themselves. Without the support from their parents and teachers, LGBT* students do not see their future in Lithuania. According to LGL’s survey results, 90% of LGBT* students are thinking about emigrating abroad after finishing school.
Detailed LGL’s survey results, Lithuania’s ranking on the international LGBTQI youth and student organisation’s IGLYO Inclusive Education Index and recommendations for education policy makers in Lithuania are presented in a special leaflet dedicated to the survey.
LGL carried out the survey of LGBT* students with the support from the US-based organisation GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network). The results from the survey will be presented on 16th May, 2018 during the Rainbow Days 2018 press conference in the Lithuanian Parliament. GLSEN’s Chief Research & Strategy Officer Dr. Joseph G. Kosciw will be one of the key speakers at the press conference.
The visit of GLSEN’s Chief Research & Strategy Officer Dr. Joseph G. Kosciw in Vilnius is part of a project “Exchange of Good Practices between American and Lithuanian Educational Experts”. The project is financed by the US State Department and the US Embassy in Vilnius.