South Korea LGBT youth threatened by lack of non-discrimination provisions: report

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09/16/2021

LGBTQIA+ youth in South Korea are threatened by the country’s failure to enact non-discrimination provisions, according to a report published by Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Tuesday. The report, entitled “I Thought of Myself as Defective”: Neglecting the Rights of LGBT Youth in South Korean Schools, interviewed students in the country who identify as LGBTQIA+ as well as prominent figures in students’ lives such as teachers and parents. The researchers found that LGBTQIA+ youth in the country experience bullying and harassment. They reported being ostracized from their peers and verbally harassed. Less common, but of deep concern, the students also reported physical bullying and sexual harassment. Students who publicly shared their sexual or gender identity were identified as most at risk of physical bullying. The report highlighted that LGBTQIA+ students have trouble accessing confidential mental health support. When mental health support is available, providers are ill-equipped to support LGBTQIA+ students’ needs. The social stigma attaching to mental health in the country compounds the poor accessibility of support. The students’ treatment threatens their right to equal treatment under Articles 1 and 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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