Research in Scottish Schools

In 2012, LGBT Youth Scotland conducted research into the lives of LGBT young people, which has resulted in a series of reports. Life in Scotland for LGBT Young People: Education Report was the largest survey of LGBT young people undertaken in Scotland and the largest survey to include transgender young people's experiences of education. 

The report found: 

  • 69.1% of all LGBT respondents has experienced homophobic or biphobic bullying in school, 24.6% in college and 13.8% at university. 
  • 76.9% of transgender respondents had experienced homophobic, biphobic or transphobic bulling at school, 69.2% in college and 37.5% in university. 
  • More than half of those who had experienced homophobic and biphobic bullying believed that it has negatively impacted on their education, rising to more than 88% of those who had experienced transphobic bullying. 
  • 10% of all LGBT young people had left education as a result of homophobia, biphobia or transphobia within the educational establishment.
  • 14.3% of all LGBT young people had left education as a result of their direct experience of homophobic or biphobic bullying, rising to 42.3% for those who had experienced transphobic bullying. 


Click the image below for the full report. 

Previous research on education was conducted in 2006, in Scottish Schools.

 Awareness of homophobic bullying was extremely high amongst survey respondents and 52% had been homophobically bullied. (O’Loan et al, 2006)

This work was funded by the Scottish Government and key findings were as follows:

· in relation to bullying and discrimination, the issue of sexual orientation was less embedded compared to other equality strands such as gender, disability and race

· there were high levels of homophobic bullying both for LGBT young people but also among pupils who do not identify as LGB or T

· phrases such as ‘that’s soo Gay’ can send negative messages to LGBT young people

Physical violence was more common in incidents of homophobic bullying than more general bullying and 12% of survey respondents stated that they had truanted to avoid homophobic bullying at school. (O’Loan et al, 2006)

The research also concluded that some of the consequences of homophobia and homophobic bullying were:

·young people can be afraid to come to school, resulting in truancy or early leaving

·young people may not participate in exams and therefore leave school with no qualifications

·young people may delay coming out as LGBT and remain silent and isolated with little or no support

·young people may experience distress and anxiety, negatively affecting their health and wellbeing

For copies of the national research reports contact us by clicking here and we will send you a copy.


LGBT Youth Scotland also carried out research in schools in the Scottish Borders in 2009. Key findings included:

· There was strong awareness of the words lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

86% of young people had heard the words lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender before and 96% had heard the word gay.

53% of young people said that they mainly heard negative things about LGBT people.

·  Homophobia and homophobic bullying can affect all young people.

Obviously I’d feel bad for the person and want to help but then the bullies may turn on me and call me a lesbian when I’m not, just because I was helping someone who is LGBT. (Female, 14 years

We measure the impact of our work in schools and can provide you with further links to research as required.

For copies of the Scottish Borders research or for more information contact us by clicking here and we will organise getting a copy sent out to you.