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Methodology - Taking Photographs from Pate’s Grammar School

Question:

Discuss about the Effects of Victimization and Violence.

LGBT or the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has turned out to be an accepted designation for those minorities, which are based on gender as well as sexual orientation. It is unfortunate to note that almost each of the subgroup of the LGBT community is subjected to varied gender related prejudices, which are deeply rooted in the beliefs as well as traditions regarding sex and gender. It has been a steady topic for over year in both developing and developed countries that to which extent LGBT people are suffering from socio-economic as well as cultural injustice. It has been understood lately that due to lack of social recognition and cultural injustice, most of the members of the LGBT community could not easily access the rights, which they deserve on the ground of humanity. Therefore, it can be said that a particular section of the society is lacking basic privileges, social recognition due to their unusual sexual, and gender orientation. One of the issues faced by members of LGBT community at the early age in academic institutions as school, is homophobic and transphobic bullying (Bailey 2014).

The statistical evidences are indicative of the fact that more than 55% of the LGBT people in Britain encounter homophobic as well as transphobic bullying in secondary schools (stonewall.org.uk 2017). Considering this aforementioned condition in most of the Britain schools, the aim of the present project research is to identify and discuss whether academic institutions as school should be called safe place for the LGBT people or not. The focus of the present paper would be to identify and elaborate the kinds of bullying and ill-treatment experienced by the LGBT people in Britain schools. At the same time, the reasons for such inappropriate behavior would be identified and analyzed too. In order to accomplish the aforementioned aim and objective of the present project research, an in depth analysis of theoretical concepts of intersectionality and social exclusion would be discussed. Further, eight photographs would be taken from a school of Britain, named – Pate’s Grammar school would be analyzed in order to have a transparent understanding about how homophobic issues are being dealt. 

Prior to analyze the aforementioned objective of the present project research paper, it is essential to elaborate critically the choices of methods adopted for accomplishing the fundamental goal of the assignment. It is initially essential to mention that the particular space, which has been chosen for the discourse is the LGBT safe place. The concentration is upon the current condition that is the homophobic as well as transphobic bullying faced by the LGBT students in Britain schools. The aforementioned space has been selected based on the reason that the number of homophobic and transphobic bullying in secondary schools of Britain is increasing. It has been identified and proved from statistical evident that more than 80% of the teachers of the secondary schools do not have any particular professional training in handling issues of homophobic bullying with LGBT students (natcen.ac.uk 2017). Therefore, it can be said that the selection of the space is justified. On the other hand, it should be also mentioned that the topic is relevant enough in the contemporary scenario as cases of homophobic bullying have increased in the last couple of months (Bouris ewt al. 2016). In order to achieve realistic evidence regarding the topic, more than eight photos of the school have been taken.

Defining Safe Space for the LGBT Community

In case of taking photos of the school, the students and some of the teachers, consents have been taken from the school authority and from the teachers. Each of the photographs has been taken in daylight and they included both the teachers and the students. Instead of knowing, the fact that pictures of verbal bullying on the LGBT students would not be easy to get. Therefore, it has been unfortunate for research project that none of the pictures clearly shows that the bullying behavior of the students or the effect of homophobic bullying upon other students. However, the photographs have been helpful enough in understanding that sexual discrimination often take place in the school. The photographs have also indicated the fact that most of the teachers are reluctant about the fact that discrimination based on sexual orientation is taking place in the school.

However, in order to make sure that the entire project research has been done in an ethical manner, consents from the selected school authority and the teachers have been taken. Nevertheless, it is essential to mention here that the actual purpose of the project research has not been disclosed as it might have aggravated them. It has been done based on the reason that the purpose of taking photographs of them has not been harmful for their activity. However, it has been informed to the school authority that the photographs are being taken due to an educational purpose. It is to mention in this respect that the photos have helped in acquiring a concise view about the discrimination-taking place in the educational institutions and the impact of such behaviors on others. Nonetheless, it is essential to note down in this context that initially the school authority as well as the teachers of the considered school has been skeptical about the idea of taking photographs. Initially, they have not agreed with the idea of taking photographs for the purpose of education and thereafter they show their ignorance though at last they agreed upon to give permission for taking minimum photographs.

After getting disapproval at the initial phase, the idea to take photographs while a teacher is taking a class, has been dismissed. Nevertheless, the school authority finally approved of the request when they heard that the idea has been changed into the plan to take pictures of only the students and the teachers. However, keeping in mind about such unfortunate outcome, two other relevant pictures of homophobic bullying have been considered. 

It is essential to first understand the idea of safe space for the LGBT people. Fundamentally, safe space refers to a small group of individuals who have special kind of need. It can be also said that safe space is an autonomous place where marginalized people feel free to talk about their marginalization. Most of the time University campuses are considered to be the safe space, for the marginalized people like the LGBT community people (Halberstam 2005). It is the responsibility of the academic institutions and its authorities to create a tolerant as well as inclusive environment, where the LGBT people can safely and independently participate in Union activities. For example, the Sussex University is holding a great example of having policy against anti-LGBT activities.

Homophobic and Transphobic Bullying Faced by LGBT Students in British Schools

According to Doan (2010), the percentage of homophobic bullying is increasing among the pupils in schools, which is highly making negative influence on the performance of the students as well as on their cognitive development. According to the school report of Stonewall, near about 55% of the lesbian, bisexual and gay young students have been highly experiencing homophobic bullying and homophobic language on a daily basis (Doderer 2011). It is unfortunate to denote in this context that more than 61% of the lesbian, gay and bisexual people feel that their children would be bullied in the public space as well as in the educational institutions (Formby 2015). Not only in the elementary level but also in the secondary schools, children of gay, lesbian or bisexual parents. Moreover, seven in ten or more than 70% of the gay, bisexual or lesbian parents have said that they expect that they would face barrier in the education system, only because of their sexual orientation. Most significantly, the problem arises when members of the LGBT community would apply for the position of school governor. It is to mention in this respect that among those schools, which have LGBT issues, some of the frequently used homophobic words are found to be – “poof”, “lezza”, “that’s so gay” and “you’re so gay” (stonewall.org.uk 2017).


As per Gorman-Murray (2011), there is the essential need for implementing teacher’s training specifically in both elementary and secondary schools, only for tackling biphobic, homophobic and transphobic threats and bullying. There is the necessary need for such teachers’ training as several times it has been found out that LGBT teachers themselves encounter homophobic bullies and ill treatment from school authority and students. Most of the photographs taken from the considered school given at the end of the present assignment are apparently indicative of the fact that students are apparently sharing their space with each other and having fun with each other (Valentine 1993). However, the last two considered photographs are indicative of the possible impact that a LGBT student can have after got bullied from other students. In this context, the fundamental responsibility of the concept of intersectionality should be considered. In terms of having an inclusive environment to keep a safe space for the LGBT people, it is essential that all academic institutions should not discriminate LGBT students by keeping different toilet for them. It provides huge embarrassment to the students belonging to the LGBT community and they feel a sense of marginalization, which decreases their sense of self-empowerment. It has been found out that the considered school has a discriminated toilet for the LGBT community people, which mean that the school may not exclude its LGBT students but to some extent discriminate them.  

Considering the verbal harassment and bullying of LGBT students in public spaces like schools, it is essential here to mention that school authorities of most of the British schools should work on intersectional projects for identifying and thereafter stopping homophobic and transphobic harassment. From the last photograph presented at the last section of the present paper, it can be said that homophobic or transphobic bullies highly hinder the cognitive development of the LGBT individuals (Ruddick 1996). As per McDowell and Court (1994), bullies highly prevent the essential cognitive development of the LGBT individuals and consequently they lose the confidence on their rights and exclude themselves from any kind of social gathering.

Reasons Behind Homophobic and Transphobic Bullying

As evident from the last photograph, bullying against LGBT individuals in schools make LGBT individuals depressed, isolated and most importantly vulnerable for more harassment. As stated by Gorman-Murray (2011), the most of the schools are taking homophobic and transphobic bullying seriously and take prompt measures in order to make schools the safer place for the LGBT community. On the other hand, as argued by Halberstam (2005), in Britain, most of the school authorities do not take the problem of LGBT bullying seriously and it is only degrading the standard of living of the LGBT people. Therefore, it can be argued that public schools are no longer can be called safe space for the students of the LGBT community and their children. However, there has been found some positive signs from the year 2007 as the statistical data show that reports of transphobic as well as homophobic harassment and bullying are less. It is unfortunate to mention that the survey conducted in the year 2007 has also indicated that the homophobic comments, language and the style of discriminating the LGBTs have not changed at all (bbc.co.uk 2017). This particular result is proof of the fact that the hostile atmosphere against the LGBT individuals in schools and other academic institutions have not changed completely.


However, considering the taken photographs from the considered school, it can be also anticipated that possibly the anti-bullying measurements have been considered by the school properly. Such opinion is based on the facts that most of the pictures represent happiness among the students and their teachers. Therefore, it may not be completely an inappropriate statement to call the considered school a homophobic bullies-free space for the LGBT students. Nevertheless, such assumptions do not share a strong ground as pictures do not always reveal the hidden truth. According to the LGBT youth Scotland, the main problem in getting proper responses from the harassed students and members of the community of LGBT is, in most of the time the LGBT students are confident enough about reporting against those who bully them to the school authority (bbc.com 2017). It is therefore, understandable that the fundamental social norms about gender roles and sex orientation are responsible for preventing LGBT communities to grow confidence and self-respect. It is to note down in this respect that according to the LGBT youth Scotland, rather than their LGB peers, most of the LGBT students face higher level of both verbal and physical bullying. Most significantly, the LGBT youth Scotland has also indicated that in terms of bitter consequence, most of the LGBT students leave schools and education early and lives for an uncertain life where successful earning turns out to be the most difficult part of life (theguardian.com 2017).

In this respect, the fundamental idea of the post-modern theory of “performativity” should be considered. The aforementioned theoretical concept entirely deconstructs the predominant idea of gender as a “natural aspect”. According to the basic concept of “performativity”, the predominant percept of gender is a creation by the regulated practices and norms designed by the society (Ruddick 1996). Based on Judith Butler, gender is an outcome of the social norms regarding sexual orientation and the decision regarding a particular gender is determined solely by their sexual habit (Rose 2015). Moreover, according to Judith Butler, the repetitive performance of the society that thickens over the years for producing appearance of substance of the natural aspects, determine the sole concepts of gender and sexuality (Butler 2016). Henceforth, it is understandable that the prime reason for the students bullying against their LGBT classmates is their socio-cultural background and upbringings. It can be also commented that the schools have become no longer a safe space for the LGBT students and the hostile behavior of the students should be considered as mere reflection of the society they live in (Formby 2015). Thus, it should considered first in order to stop homophobic bullying in schools that a space can be restrictive, liberatory or completely prohibitive, which force the people to act in a particular way towards particular genders.

Theoretical Concepts of Intersectionality and Social Exclusion

Most significantly, not only for the LGBT students but for the LGBT peers too, school authorities need to adopt strict measures. It is fortunate to denote that within few years, the first school only for the gay, bisexual, transgender and lesbian people may open in Manchester (natcen.ac.uk 2017). It has been decided that the school would particularly offer help to the LGBT students who have faced homophobic bullying in schools. The aim of the school would be to give a proper safe space for learning for the LGBT students. If the photographs presented in the present assignment is indicative of the fact that the school has well implemented policies for prohibiting homophobic bullying in their premise, and then it would be an exceptional evidence for the argument that says that most of public schools in Britain is dealing with LGBT bullying issues. On the other hand, if the pictures do not reveal the actual condition of the LGBT students in the school then, it is to suggest that they should adopt anti-bullying strategies as soon as possible.

Conclusion

From the above analytical discourse, it can be deduced that in Britain the schools are not safe space for the members and the children of LGBT community. It is evident from the above paper and its find outs that more than 55% of the people belonging to the LGBT community are facing homophobic bullying in schools of Britain. Moreover, the paper has also mentioned that most of the time LGBT students miss important classes because of the fear of getting bullied in the classroom. It has been understood from the above paper that most of present teachers of the public schools do not have any professional trainings in case of preventing any kind of bullying against the LGBT students in the classroom. However, as it has been established by the paper that academic institutions as public schools have not been found to be safe space for the LGBT people and their children. The cause mentioned by the study implicates that the conventional social norms regarding gender roles and sexual orientation is the reason for such mishap.

References

Bailey, M.M., 2014. Engendering space: Ballroom culture and the spatial practice of possibility in Detroit. Gender, Place & Culture, 21(4), pp.489-507.

BBC News. 2017. LGBT bullying at 'high rate' in Scotland's schools - BBC News. [online] Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-38007175 [Accessed 6 May 2017].

Bbc.co.uk. 2017. LGBT school: Could it stop the bullying?. [online] Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/30849957/lgbt-school-could-it-stop-the-bullying [Accessed 6 May 2017].

Bouris, A., Everett, B.G., Heath, R.D., Elsaesser, C.E. and Neilands, T.B., 2016. Effects of victimization and violence on suicidal ideation and behaviors among sexual minority and heterosexual adolescents. LGBT health, 3(2), pp.153-161.

Butler, J., 2016. Seminar on Judith Butler’s “Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly”. Filozofija i društvo, 27(1), pp.53-104.

Doan, P.L., 2010. The tyranny of gendered spaces–reflections from beyond the gender dichotomy. Gender, Place & Culture, 17(5), pp.635-654.

Doderer, Y.P., 2011. LGBTQs in the city, queering urban space. International journal of urban and regional research, 35(2), pp.431-436.

Formby, E., 2015. Limitations of focussing on homophobic, biphobic and transphobic ‘bullying’to understand and address LGBT young people's experiences within and beyond school. Sex Education, 15(6), pp.626-640.

Gorman-Murray, A., 2011. ‘This is disco-wonderland!’Gender, sexuality and the limits of gay domesticity on The Block. Social & Cultural Geography, 12(5), pp.435-453.

Halberstam, J., 2005. In a queer time and place: Transgender bodies, subcultural lives. NYU Press.

McDowell, L. and Court, G., 1994. Missing subjects: Gender, power, and sexuality in merchant banking. Economic Geography, 70(3), pp.229-251.

Murray, J. 2017. Gay young people still face bullying at school. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2012/jul/02/homophobic-bullying-in-schools [Accessed 6 May 2017].

NATCEN Social Research. 2017. NATCEN Social Research that works for society. [online] Available at: https://natcen.ac.uk/our-research/research/evaluation-of-anti-hbt-bullying-programme/?gclid=Cj0KEQjw6LXIBRCUqIjXmdKBxZUBEiQA_f50PqEJnZjbvM2YLOB8Rt0syVgONbmlJFEySdIVf5fYx3caAtDJ8P8HAQ [Accessed 6 May 2017].

Rose, D., 2015. Gender is not a fact. A critical assessment of of Judith Butler's view.

Ruddick, S., 1996. Constructing difference in public spaces: race, class, and gender as interlocking systems. Urban Geography, 17(2), pp.132-151.

Rumens, N., 2016. Towards queering the business school: A research agenda for advancing lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans perspectives and issues. Gender, Work & Organization, 23(1), pp.36-51.

Stonewall. 2017. Secondary schools. [online] Available at: https://www.stonewall.org.uk/get-involved/education/secondary-schools [Accessed 6 May 2017].

Valentine, G., 1993. Negotiating and managing multiple sexual identities: lesbian time-space strategies. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, pp.237-248.

Yang, H.C., 2014. Flower boys on campus: Performing and practicing masculinity. Journal of Gender Studies, 23(4), pp.391-408.

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