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Investigation report highlights need for colleges to engender inclusiveness

June is celebrated as Pride Month, the time to raise awareness of the LGBTQ + community and its fight against discrimination and social ostracism. The community and groups that are sympathetic to them are doing their part to instill inclusive behavior and eliminate the social stigma attached to gay men, but educational institutions had not done much in terms of promoting a culture, d ” an LGBTQ + mindset and infrastructure.
In a survey of 1,700 students at educational institutions across the country, about 83% of those who identified as LGBTQ + students said they received little or no support on campus. The study said that up to 64% of those who identified themselves as LGBTQ + said they had personally experienced discrimination or had seen others like them experience it.

Mocked, harassed and excluded
For gay people, the environment on campus is actually intimidating. A majority are bullied, mocked and taunted frequently for not conforming to what society

considers normal. An overwhelming majority of 92% said they had been teased by their peers, 59% said they had been bullied, 36% said they were not taken seriously because of their sexuality or identity gender and 29% have experienced social exclusion.
This is what reveals a study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) and the Pride Circle Foundation, entitled “Fostering Pride In Higher Education-The Road to Inclusion” .

LGBTQ-unfriendly faculty
The daily ordeal is a reality even for those who have not openly disclosed their sexuality for fear of being treated differently. They were distinguished by the fact that they did not identify as LGBTQ, fearing discrimination. The recently released report found that 36% said their peers were not LGBTQ-friendly and 33% felt faculty members were not.
The study indicates that there is a marked difference between acceptance levels at colleges or educational institutions that have support groups, while there is a marked difference in colleges that do not. support groups.
The study points out that most colleges in India do not have a dedicated LGBTQ + support system. Only 48% of LGBTQ college respondents said they had a supportive group infrastructure – in terms of policies, services and amenities essential to decent quality life on campus.

Support groups can help build inclusiveness
Of the colleges surveyed, 70% had Ally programs, 32% had LGBTQ + friendly human resources policies, 20% had LGBTQ + billboards, and 20% had gender-neutral washrooms.
“A good 90% of community members believe that having a support group, either administration or student initiated, helps foster an inclusive mindset within the college. 85% felt that if students refrained from jokes against their LGBTQ + peers and spoke out against such jokes, it would significantly help create a positive environment. 65% of members felt that it is necessary for professors to communicate about diversity and LGBTQ + inclusion to make the college more inclusive, ”the report on community expectations states.
She also specifies that the presence of support groups expresses the fact that the administration and teachers support LGBTQ + inclusion.
“It makes them more aware of their duty to the community. A support group becomes a tool to communicate to students, faculty and administration that the college supports LGBTQ + inclusion, ”the report says.

Break the myths, create more awareness

“The scary part for a college student who has dated his sexuality is the struggle he has to face. They fear being kicked out of the home, being discriminated against or being socially isolated. This is the time when they need to focus on learning a skill set to excel in life, to build a career. The change we need is more about the mental infrastructure than the physical one. It can start with the basics – start a conversation, understand and be supportive. Educational institutions should be able to shatter the myths surrounding the LGBTQ + community.
—Ramkrishna Sinha, co-founder of the Pride Circle Foundation

“Two things in the study are most striking. First of all, discrimination is rampant with LGBTQ + people. Second, college support groups are helping students more by reducing discrimination. The report gives a picture based on a survey of 17,000 college students. If we have reached out to more, especially in rural areas, perhaps we have experienced more problems, challenges. “
– Shubham Singhal,
former allied member of the IIMA,
part of the study



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