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Work still needed in ‘every class in every school’

New report highlights importance of safe, accepting schools for 2SLGBTQ+ youth

Dr. Catherine Taylor, ©UWinnipeg

Dr. Catherine Taylor, ©UWinnipeg

When University of Winnipeg Senior Scholar Dr. Catherine Taylor led the First National Climate Study more than a decade ago, the final report, Every Class in Every School was the first report of its kind to reveal just how prevalent discrimination was for 2SLGBTQ+ students in Canadian secondary schools at the time. 

As a follow up to this study, Taylor again partnered with Egale Canada on a new survey, this time with Dr. Tracey Peter, Professor and Associate Head of Sociology at the University of Manitoba (UM). Joined by Research Coordinator and UM PhD Candidate Christopher Campbell, they have launched a new report, Still in Every Class in Every School.

Their research reveals that while there have been some important improvements in the last decade, there is still a long way to go in creating safer and accepting schools for 2SLGBTQ+ youth.

Still in Every Class in Every School is the Final Report on the Second National Climate Survey on Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia in Canadian Schools, and was conducted in partnership with researchers from the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba. Through the second climate survey, more than 4,000 students in Grades 8-12 shared their experiences with homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, harassment, mental health and sense of safety, and support in schools across Canada. 

While the findings show that both physical and verbal harassment experienced by 2SLGBTQ+ students has decreased in the past decade, 2SLGBTQ+ students are still far more likely to be harassed or bullied than their non-2SLGBTQ+ peers and less likely to feel safe at school. The report also provides evidence that when schools demonstrate consistent, comprehensive support for 2SLGBTQ+ students, there are profound benefits for students’ mental health and feelings of safety and belonging at school

These findings show that while there have been many improvements in the last decade, there is more work needed at all levels of the school system — from government officials, policymakers, educators, and the broader community, to create safer and more accepting schools for all.

Taylor is widely known for work on sexual and gender diversity and on social justice within education. She has led several large-scale national research projects actively supported by national, provincial and territorial school system organizations in Canada, helping build inclusive school climates for sexual and gender minority students and their parents. 

Find out more about the RISE (Respect, Inclusion, Safety, Equity) research program on 2SLGBTQ-inclusive education research. 

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