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Bullying of LGBTQ students in Educational Institutions: A common but overseen issue

Author: Shrey Singh, Student, National Law School of India University, Bangalore, India

Abstract Is bullying a Queer issue? Perhaps, an analogy can be drawn to say, just like bullying of a person for the reasons of his/her place of origin or colour of skin is a racial issue, repeated violence and harassment of students for having a non-heterosexual sexual orientation and gender identity is a queer issue. In fact, the question to be asked is whether such an issue can be included in the current narrow definition of bullying. Therefore, this research paper is an attempt to study the existing framework dealing with the issue of bullying of LGBTQ students in educational institutions by specifically referring to UGC anti-ragging guidelines and CBSE anti-bullying guidelines which at present are the primary laws governing the said issue in India. What makes this topic more significant is that schools and colleges are such social agents that greatly influence a person’s social, emotional as well as physical well being and therefore are sites where one develops sense of belongingness or marginalization. The first chapter of this research paper highlights normalization of violent behaviour against LGTBQ students by frequently victimizing non-heterosexual peers which results in ‘otherisation’ of the problem. Further, it also discusses the prevalence of victim/aggressor binary as a method to counter bullying behaviour limiting the scope of study of cultural factors. The second chapter deals with various measures often undertaken by school and college authorities to reduce harassment and violence against LGBTQ students and points out the ineffectiveness of these strategies in dealing with marginalization of Queer students. Moreover, ineffectiveness of strategies undertaken by authorities leaves students with no choice but to fight for their own cause which often is done through forming Gay-straight alliances and safe spaces, which is the other focus of this chapter. The last chapter consists of various suggestions primarily relying on success of strategies implemented in other countries to make educational institutions, an inclusive space for LGTBQ students where they can learn and achieve without the fear of discrimination and violence.

Keywords: LGBTQ, students, Bullying, Educational Institutions.

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