Sexual diversity in schools: a qualitative study with high school students in the Municipality of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Thenessi Freitas Matta Stella Regina Taquette Luciana Maria Borges da Matta Souza Claudia Leite de Moraes About the authors


LGBTphobia constitutes a context of vulnerability to the health of individuals whose sexuality is diverse from the heteronormative pattern, named sexual minorities, especially in adolescence, a period of sexual identities definition. The aim of this study was to analyze how did high school students perceive their peers of sexual minorities and how they understand the school’s and educators’ attitude regarding sexual diversity. The research used the qualitative method, with 13 focal groups comprising 132 students of both sexes, from public and private schools in the Municipality of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The data analysis was performed with the support of webQDA software in a comprehensive basis approach. Data were classified in two categories. In the first category, the students and sexual diversity, the participants perceived sexual diversity as normal because it is common and often present in their age. However, they confirmed homophobic attitudes against those whose gender behavior is not in accordance with what is expected for their biological sex. In the second category, the school and sexual diversity, the students recognized the adoption of discriminatory measures against same-sex couples by the school coordination and the absence of the theme of sexual diversity in educational activities. The outcomes indicate that sexual education policies are not sufficient to guarantee the human rights of sexual minorities and this represents greater health vulnerability of this population strata.

Homophobia; Sexuality; Adolescent; Students; Qualitative Research

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