LGBT Students Leaving Higher Education Due To Bullying: Research by Sheffield Hallam University, which looked into the overt problems LGBT students across the United Kingdom have to deal with, has found that a proportion of LGBT students within higher education are dropping out of their courses as a result of bullying.
The issue was raised in a presentation by the Society for Research into Higher Education, which focused on Sheffield Hallam’s research, and was supported by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Youth and Student Organisation (IGLYO) and the National Union of Students, amongst others.
A senior research fellow at Sheffield Hallam claimed that the majority of LGBT students viewed higher education in a positive light. However, 6% of the respondents had dropped out of university because they’d had a negative experience.
When looking at how their experiences of bullying, as an LGBT individual, had affected their search for employment, 19% believed that it had.
Although the research signalled that bullying has a profound impact on the retention rates of LGBT students at university, one respondent believed that their experience of bullying had encouraged them to “aim higher”, highlighting that not all LGBT students are negatively affected by bullying – some use it as motivation to strive to improve their grades and outperform their peers.
Findings from research by Nottingham Trent University supported that of Sheffield Hallam, as they discovered that universities are “a site of bullying, discrimination and side-lining – focussing on macho and heterosexist cultures” as well as being a “site of diversity”.
Nottingham Trent also found that 89% of those who participated in the research deemed their peers to be accepting of them. However, one sociology lecturer at Nottingham Trent believed that this covers up concerning cases of LGBT students being seen as “exotic” and even “erotic”.
We welcome comments from all our readers - so please feel free to express your views in the space below. You can also sign up to receive posts directly to your inbox, free of charge. Additionally, education professionals may be interested in joining our community.