Impact Analysis of a School-based LGBTQIA+ Gender Sensitization Program in India

      Anjali Sreeram,
      MPP CLass of 2023; Associate Program Manager, Global Trade Observer

Bio : Anjali is a B.Sc. Economics (First Class Honors) Graduate from Podar World College, Mumbai, affiliated with the London School of Economics and Political Science. She completed her Master’s in Public Policy from Kautilya School of Public Policy, Hyderabad with a degree specialisation in Governance and Society. She works in the sector of trade policies after the completion of her Master`s and currently holds the position of an Associate Program Manager at Global Trade Observer based out of Delhi. She is part of Global Trade Observer’s Telangana Project. Her interests lie in gender, education, sustainability, and trade.

Project Outline : ” In India, the LGBTQIA+ community has predominantly been opposed by society and overlooked by the government when it comes to laws and regulations. This deliberate societal neglect and absence have led to increased cases of abuse and harassment, physical,psychological, and mental, concerning sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), which is increasingly being witnessed in children in schools. Children`s minds can be molded at this tender age, and thus there is a need for gender sensitization/awareness programs (GSP) and additions to the school curriculum.Teacher training programs, courses on B.Ed. etc., that speak about gender sensitization, also fail to include the LGBQTIA+ component.To support the hypothesis of GSPs being an effective tool to mold views and attitudes,this study aims to conduct an impact analysis on an ongoing LGBTQIA+ gender sensitization program, the “Breaking Barriers Campaign” of the Tagore International School (TIS), Vasant Vihar, Delhi. The paper demonstrates a comparative analysis using questionnaires between TIS students and students not exposed to such content in schools (control group). Results show that TIS students are more aware and educated about the community when compared to the control group. No significant difference could be witnessed in their acceptance and attitudes; however,TIS students have more decisive responses to questions (‘strongly agree/disagree’). Interviews with parents, teachers, LGBTQIA+ activists, and ex-students give insights into the various reasons for the absence of such information in the curricula or programs of schools, especially when LGBTQIA+ community issues are gaining attention in the mainstream media. According to the self-reported responses, TIS students` families are more aware of LGBTQIA+ persons, and more TIS students have had such conversations with them. Still, the same cannot be said certainly about their thoughts or attitudes. GSPs can empower students with information, which makes them knowledgeable and eliminates misconceptions. It has also been shown to have positive spillover effects on the family`s awareness and education.”