School is not a friendly place for LGBT students

(Seoul, September 14, 2021) – Young lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in South Korea experience isolation and mistreatment in schools, Human Rights Watch and the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School said in a report released today. 

The seventy-six-page report, “‘I Thought of Myself as Defective’: Neglecting the Rights of LGBT Youth in South Korean Schools,” finds that bullying and harassment, a lack of confidential mental health support, exclusion from school curricula, and gender identity discrimination are particularly pressing concerns for LGBT students. The South Korean government should implement antidiscrimination protections and ensure that LGBT youth have supportive resources to safeguard their health and education.

Transcript

Jin Pu-reun

To say that LGBT people are dirty is a prejudice against homosexuality, and it’s a perception created by South Korean society.

G. Lee

As the debate on LGBT issues becomes more active, anti-LGBT hate speech is increasing among students.

Kim Do-hyun

The school was not a friendly place for LGBT youth. 

Kim Do-hyun

Student

People are very ignorant, especially when it comes to being transgender.

The clothes I wore every day, the toilets and changing rooms I went to every day were always stressful, that’s why I think these really made me hate going to school. 

G. Lee

Student

One teacher said: “If same-sex marriage is legalized, bestiality will be legalized; how obscene and dirty homosexuals are; how negative their influence is…” He was just talking like this. I hated the situation.

Jin Pu-reun

Freelancer

One friend was outed. She couldn't go to school. She suffered extreme bullying. So, in the end, she dropped out and went her own way.

Kim Do-hyun

They might detain me at a mental hospital, or even force me to get conversion therapy. I had a lot of fear. I didn’t dare to ask for help.

Jin Pu-reun

I Googled “lesbian” and often wondered why I had to read relevant information in English. I became a mentor for other students. I shared proper knowledge about sex and answered their questions.

G. Lee

I want to become a person who can reform the education system, to change the minds of students. I think it would be nice to teach.

Jin Pu-reun

The government should first enact an anti-discrimination law, and schools should proactively deal with discrimination against LGBT youth just like they do with other school violence incidents.

Kim Do-hyun

I hope teachers and other staff will change their perceptions through training, and add content related to sexual minorities in the class. so that children can learn how to accept LGBT people from an early age.  

Jin Pu-reun

I felt prejudices dissolving, so I started my YouTube channel. I wanted to show that sexual minorities are not a scary presence but part of everyday life, that they are just familiar, fun people.

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