Original Research

Learners’ perceptions of learners regarded as having a homosexual orientation in an independent secondary school environment

Hendrik P. Mostert, Chris Myburgh, Marie Poggenpoel
Curationis | Vol 35, No 1 | a24 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v35i1.24 | © 2012 Hendrik P. Mostert, Chris Myburgh, Marie Poggenpoel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 July 2011 | Published: 04 October 2012

About the author(s)

Hendrik P. Mostert, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Chris Myburgh, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Marie Poggenpoel, Department of Nursing Science, University of Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

In schools today discrimination based on sexual orientation takes place on a regular basis. This form of discrimination leads to aggression towards learners perceived to be homosexual, as well as towards those with a homosexual orientation. For more than 15 years South Africa has been a democratic country with laws that protect learners who have a homosexual orientation. Nevertheless, aggression and discrimination towards these learners still occur in schools. Aggression often leads to verbal and physical bullying of the victims by perpetrators. The objectives of this research were to explore and describe Grade 11 learners’ experiences of aggression towards learners perceived to be homosexual as well as those with a homosexual orientation in an independent secondary school environment. The research design was qualitative, exploratory, descriptive and contextual in nature. The data for this investigation consisted of essays based on a published newspaper photograph, phenomenological group interviews, observations and field notes. Tesch’s method of data analysis was used, and an independent coder assisted. Three themes were identified, discussed and supported by a literature control: that learners experience that it is right and acceptable to have a homosexual orientation; that they experience ambivalence towards homosexual orientation of learners; and experienced feelings that it is wrong to have a homosexual orientation. Recommended guidelines are provided to address aggression towards learners perceived to be homosexual and those with a homosexual orientation.

Keywords

perceptions; learners; perceived homosexuality; homosexual orientation; whole-school approach; independent secondary school

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Crossref Citations

1. Educators’ perceptions of homophobic victimisation of learners at private secondary schools
Hendrik P Mostert, Charmaine Gordon, Susan Kriegler
South African Journal of Psychology  vol: 45  issue: 1  first page: 116  year: 2015  
doi: 10.1177/0081246314555595