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Addressing homophobia in and through schools: Promising examples from Thailand

“Homophobic bullying of young people in schools and local communities … is a grave violation of human rights and a public health crisis” - Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General, 8 December 2011

©UNESCO/P. Pothipun

Every day, students around the world are denied the right to education, health, safety and non-discrimination because of bullying in school. 

While anyone can be bullied, students who are perceived as not conforming to prevailing sexual and gender norms, including those who are believed to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) are particularly affected. This type of gender-based violence is known as homophobic bullying.  

Homophobic bullying has been found to reduce school attendance, and lead to early school dropout and poorer academic performance and achievement. It can also adversely affect the mental and psychological health of those who are bullied, with clear associations between homophobic bullying at school and depression, anxiety, loss of esteem and confidence, withdrawal, social isolation, and in severe cases, suicidal ideation. 

On the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO), 17 May 2012, UNESCO is joining in activities around the world on the theme of “Combating Homophobia In and Through Education.” 

UNESCO’s Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau for Education has produced a short film highlighting the challenges faced by LGBT students and practical steps that have been taken in schools in Thailand to promote healthy, safe learning environments for all. 

Click here to watch the short film in English and Thai


More information on UNESCO’s work on homophobic bullying: 

UNESCO page on Homophobic Bullying 

Confronting Homophobic Bullying in School

Meeting on Effective Policy and Practice to Address Homophobic Bullying in Educational Institutions, 16 May 2012

International Consultation on Homophobic Bullying in Educational Institutions, December 2011