A new study by the NUS has revealed that one in five LGBTQ students and one in three trans students have experienced some form of bullying at university.
The research, which was conducted between February and March 2014, collected data from from over 4,000 students at 80 higher education institutions. It was the first research of its kind.
Many students felt the research did not reflect the situation in Oxford.
Celia Stevenson, Equality Rep for Trinity College, said: “I was relatively surprised by several of the results in the research as I haven’t ever experienced any name-calling which the research revealed was the most prevalent form of homophobic abuse, nor have I had any reported to me.”
Another student expressed a similar sentiment, saying “in my experience, jokes made about sexual experiences with someone of the same gender were no greater in frequency or maliciousness than those made to heterosexual couples about their sexual exploits.”
The research found that LGBT students who have experienced a form of homophobic or transphobic harassment are two to three times more likely to consider leaving their course.
An Oxford University spokesman said of this: “Both colleges and departments are very supportive of LGB and trans students and we have seen nothing like the levels of homophobia and transphobia reported by the NUS.”
“We are not aware of any formal complaints of bullying or harassment against LGBT students at Oxford in recent years. Overall, Oxford has very low numbers of students leaving their courses, and we have no evidence that LGB or trans students at Oxford are more likely than other students to consider leaving.’
The research stated: “Students unanimously feel safer at university than in any other place,” which one Wadham student was eager to point out, saying: “within college, the issue of harassment is not as prevalent as it is on the street.”
The research also said: “The majority of respondents highlighted the positive role their union and LGBT societies have had in their educational experience.”
Ashley Francis-Roy, President of the Oxford University LGBTQ society welcomed the report, saying: ‘It indicates that providing social and welfare support to members of the LGBTQ community and working to improve awareness of LGBTQ issues in the University help ensure LGBTQ people have a positive experience of higher education.”
“Significantly, it highlights that much more can be done to support trans students in higher education.”
He finished with some words of advice: “In Oxford support for LGBTQ students is available both in colleges and from the University society. If you’re feeling harassed or bullied don’t hesitate to get in touch with your college LGBTQ rep or a member of our committee.”