Straight talking: explorations on homosexuality and homophobia in secondary schools in Ireland

Case Studies & Research
13 p.
Periodical title
Sex Education: Sexuality, Society and Learning, 9 (4), 381-393

This paper outlines research that was conducted among students, parents, teachers and senior management teams in six secondary schools in the Greater Dublin area of Ireland. The research involved semi-structured interviews and observations. The findings of this research are significant in that it was the first time any data had been gathered on this topic directly from those within the school system. Overall, the qualitative nature of the data allowed us to obtain an insight into how students, parents, teachers and senior management teams understand and experience homosexuality and the related issue of homophobic bullying in their schools. As a dimension ofá relationships and sexuality education in Irish secondary schools, sexual orientation is very much a peripheral issue. However, the data from this study show that the impact of not having a mainstream approach to sexual orientation within schools results in fear, negative stereotypes, and worse still discriminatory and bullying behaviour.

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