Sex-ed survey confirms discrimination in Chilean schools

Movilh's survey of elementary school students pinpoints teacher to LGBT-student discrimination amidst strong student support for marriage equality

Sex-ed survey confirms discrimination in Chilean schools
19 August 2012

A survey of 10 Chilean elementary schools revealed sexual discrimination in the classroom.

The survey conducted by Movilh Joven, the youth division of Chile’s leading sexual minority organization Movilh, asked 250 students throughout the Santiago Metropolitan Region questions regarding the handling of sexual diversity in the classroom.

Conducted as a tool to help drive anti-discriminatory public policy, Movilh’s survey found that:

  • 50% of students reported that their school does not offer sex education classes.
  • 77% said that their sex education classes never discuss sexual diversity.
  • 61% of students indicated that their schools have policies preventing certain interactions between students of the same sex (i.e. holding hands).
  • while 78% of students reported that instructors have never made discriminatory comments toward students, 39% said that they can identify an instance of teacher to LGBT-student discrimination.
  • 66% of students revealed that acts of discrimination go unpunished.
  • 38% of students believe that LGBT people are more likely to contact an STI (sexually transmitted infection) and 20% were not sure.

Alberto Cid, coordinator of Movilh Joven said in a statement: ‘Sexual diversity is a topic that is rarely, if ever, approached in the classroom.

In spite of the fact that, according to the survey, students witness discrimination against sexual minorities, they still favor equal rights and express a high acceptance of marriage equality.’

The last questions on the survey revealed that 78% of students were in favor of equal marriage and 83.6% said they would be fine if they found out their best friend were homosexual, bisexual or transexual.

Cid added: ‘It is necessary that schools address the reality of sexual diversity in classrooms. Only then can we reduce prejudice and discrimination that seems to be more between instructors and LGBT students than between peers. 

The survey, conducted from  June to July 2011, called for immediate action to adjust the no-PDA policy, and to ensure the inclusion of sexual minorities in classroom discussion.

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