Sexual harassment at educational institutions a challenge for India's LGBTQ community, finds UNESCO report


  • LGBTQ students face bullying at Indian schools in the name of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI).
  • Nearly 70% of the bullied LGBT students in India face anxiety and depression.
  • Around one-third of LGBT students discontinue school, due to physical bullying.
  • The University Grants Commission(UGC) in 2016 included sexual orientation and gender identity as a part of ragging, under the Anti Ragging regulations.
A large number of students from the LGBTQ community are dropping out of school — thanks to bullying.

Bullying in the name of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI), is starting early on, too the Times of India reported. It begins in primary classes, thereby affecting the students’ mental health and ability to focus on studies, according to a study by UNESCO and Sahodaran — a male sexual health initiative based out of Chennai.

Nearly 70% of the bullied LGBTQ students in India face anxiety and depression and suffer from loss in studies.

More than half of the students (60%) are reportedly facing physical bullying in high and middle schools. A little less than half, 43% of the LGBTQ students surveyed — between the ages 18-20 — faced sexual harassment in primary schools.

“Unesco’s work on preventing and addressing homophobic and transphobic violence including bullying in educational institutions, is in line with our mandate on ensuring the right to quality education for all in learning environments that are safe, non-violent and inclusive said Sarita Jadav, national programme officer, UNESCO.

The cons

One-third of the bullied students drop out at an early stage. In fact, over 73% students in the given age bracket, reduce social activities and hide their orientation, in fear of harassment.

The study included respondents from transgender community and MSM (men having sex with men) aged between 18 to 22 years, along with teachers and officials from educational institutions.

The report indicates that there is a slow change in the attitude of people, children and young adults, in particular.

This in spite of the fact that the University Grants Commission (UGC) introduced sexual orientation and gender identity as a part of ragging under the Anti-Ragging regulations. Last year, the Supreme Court scrapped Section 377 which criminalizes intercourse ‘against the order of nature’.

LGBTQ adults prefer to bring out their sexuality via online dating platforms — which has helped them express more freely, as per a Tinder report.

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