Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Education

A special issue of European Journal of Investigation in Health, Psychology and Education (ISSN 2254-9625).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2022) | Viewed by 2355

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Dear Colleagues,

Educational environments play a critical role in shaping psychosocial development [4], as well as in the construction of personal and social identities. Non-cisgender sexual diversities face hostility, discrimination and violence in primary and secondary schools. While blatant violence still occurs, subtle discrimination, sexual rumor mongering and transphobia are now more common in educational settings. In these settings, studies have suggested that interpersonal heterosexism and sexual harassment contribute to negative psychological outcomes.

Similarly, the intersection of sexual and gender identities in the student population appears to be related to the levels of emotional distress and bullying victimization [3]. In this regard, research by Atteberry-Ash et al. [1] demonstrated that young people who experience marginalization on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity are at an elevated risk of experiencing sexual violence.

Recently, empirical attention has also been paid to micro-aggressions on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity; however, more research and specific actions are required to eradicate these micro-aggressions. Although discrimination has been shown to be less prevalent in schools with inclusive policies and programs, the effectiveness of these programs and policies in reducing discrimination on the basis of gender (gender expression and identity, sexual orientation and diverse characteristics) has not been examined to date.

Based on these diagnoses, and from the perspective of education for plural and inclusive democratic citizenship, this Special Issue seeks to respond to the following questions:

  1. How do socio-educational actors respond to overt and veiled discrimination against sexual and gender minorities?
  2. What training programs have been implemented at different educational levels for the eradication of this type of discrimination?
  3. What psychosocial and educational factors are involved in the self-esteem and achievement levels of students who experience sexual orientation- and gender identity-based bullying?
  4. What education policies have been proposed to address gender-based violence targeting self-identified LGBTIQ+ students? What are their outcomes?

Expression of sexual orientation and gender identity biases in social and psychological research

Bias responds to associations based on negative prejudices, permeable to scientific research [2]. Its identification will result in the proposals containing bias to be rejected. Some of the most common expressions of bias are described below:

  • Lax use of relevant concepts, such as sex, gender and identity;
  • Standardization of heterosexual/cissexist experiences, in which it is assumed that all human experiences are (and should be) strictly hetero/cis;
  • Presence of supposedly universal assumptions, such as gender binarism;
  • Presumption of normality of heterosexuality/cissexuality, and pathologization or alterity of sexual orientation and/or gender identity;
  • Assumption of homogeneity, in which other sexual orientations and/or gender identities are treated as a class.


  1. Atteberry-Ash, B.; Walls, N.E.; Kattari, S.K.; Peitzmeier, S.M.; Kattari, L.; Langenderfer-Magruder, L. Forced sex among youth: Accrual of risk by gender identity, sexual orientation, mental health and bullying. J. LGBT Youth 2020, 17, 193–213. https://doi.org/10.1080/19361653.2019.1614131.
  2. Barrientos, J.; Radi, B. Avoiding hetero/cissexist bias in psychological research: A contribution from latin America. Interam. J. Psychol. 2021, 55, e1631.
  3. Eisenberg, M.E.; Gower, A.L.; Rider, G.N.; McMorris, B.J.; Coleman, E. At the intersection of sexual orientation and gender identity: Variations in emotional distress and bullying experience in a large population-based sample of U.S. adolescents. J. LGBT Youth 2019, 16, 235–254. https://doi.org/10.1080/19361653.2019.1567435.
  4. Sterzing, P.R.; Gartner, R.E.; Woodford, M.R.; Fisher, C.M. Sexual Orientation, Gender, and Gender Identity Microaggressions: Toward an Intersectional Framework for Social Work Research. J. Ethn. Cult. Divers. Soc. Work 2017, 26, 81–94. https://doi.org/10.1080/15313204.2016.1263819.

Prof. Dr. Delfín Ortega-Sánchez
Guest Editor

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  • discrimination
  • sexual orientation
  • gender identity
  • sexual diversity education
  • psychosocial and educational factors

Published Papers (1 paper)

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11 pages, 564 KiB  
Psychometric Validation of the Portuguese Version of the Modern Homonegativity Scale among Portuguese College Students
by Ana Belén García-Berbén, Henrique Pereira, Adrián S. Lara-Garrido, Gloria Álvarez-Bernardo and Graça Esgalhado
Eur. J. Investig. Health Psychol. Educ. 2022, 12(8), 1168-1178; https://doi.org/10.3390/ejihpe12080081 - 18 Aug 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1624
The studies focused on analysing attitudes toward homosexuality show that the manifestation of homonegativity has evolved into more modern forms. We therefore propose using instruments that capture subtle aspects in discrimination against gay and lesbian people. The objective of this study is twofold. [...] Read more.
The studies focused on analysing attitudes toward homosexuality show that the manifestation of homonegativity has evolved into more modern forms. We therefore propose using instruments that capture subtle aspects in discrimination against gay and lesbian people. The objective of this study is twofold. First, we aim to adapt and validate the Portuguese version of the Modern Homonegativity Scale. Second, we set out to analyse the modern homonegativity shown by Portuguese university students. The scale includes two parallel subscales (MHS-Gay Men and MHS-Lesbian Women), each with 12 items. Six hundred and forty-one Portuguese college students between 18 and 27 years of age participated in the study (Mage = 21.23; SD = 1.88). The results demonstrate the unidimensionality of the scale and a high degree of internal consistency, along with satisfactory fit indices. Those people who identified as male and heterosexual showed greater modern homonegativity. We conclude that the Portuguese version of the MHS is valid and reliable for evaluating modern homonegativity in Portugal. Full article
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