How are non-heterosexual people affected by discrimination endured in the school environment due to their affective-sexual orientation? This question was the starting point in the PhD thesis produced by the researcher Aitor Martxueta.
The thesis is entitled "Claves para atender a la diversidad afectivo-sexual en el contexto educativo" (Keys to addressing affective-sexual diversity in the education context), and in it, Martxueta has not only carried out an empirical study to answer the above question, he has also analysed the studies relating to the attitudes held by youngsters towards affective-sexual diversity, homophobia, and the harassment and discrimination suffered by LGTB (Lesbian Gay Transgender Bi-Sexual) students in the Basque Country, Spain, other European countries like the United Kingdom, and the United States. The thesis concludes by putting forward measures designed to prevent homophobic bullying and to guarantee that affective-sexual diversity be addressed from a global school approach.
According to the author of the thesis, "at first I was seeking to see whether the harassment endured in the school environment due to affective-sexual orientation has negative consequences on the mental health of the individuals who are now adults and who in their childhood and/or adolescence suffered this kind of discrimination". To verify this, he conducted a study with 119 individuals with non-standard affective-sexual orientations and who are members of the associations LGTB EHGAM, GEHITU and Bost Axola.
Although Martxueta warns that the sample is not large enough for the results to be statistically significant, "the study suggests that discrimination, harassment and insults endured at school due to affective-sexual orientation are related with higher levels of depression and anxiety and lower levels of self-esteem and balance of affections today".
"Yet even though it may seem strange in principle," adds Martxueta, "these very same individuals who report that they have been harassed perceive greater support and acceptance from the family and environment close to them, and display a greater and earlier acceptance of their affective-sexual orientation."