Investigating the experiences of gay high school learners and the impact thereof on their academic performance.
In the wider awareness of homosexuality across the world, stereotypes and prejudices associated with gay and lesbian learners are visible in most South African high schools. It was deemed important for this research to investigate and understand the experiences of gay learners and the impact it has on their academic performance. This was done through semi-structured interviews i.e., eliciting qualitative data, at one of the schools located in the Durban metropolitan, with five participants whose ages ranged from 16 to 18 years. This study will use interpretive paradigm underscored by the ecosystemic perspective. The findings generated from the data indicated that gay and lesbian learners encountered negative experiences which impact on their academic performance. Gay and Lesbian learners indicated that there must be advocacy campaigns to ensure the inclusivity of all learners irrespective of their sexual orientation and identity at school. The common sentiment expressed was that the acceptance of homosexuality enables the achievement of social justice and the sound academic performance of this group of learners. Therefore, equity in schools will improve academic performance and social well-being of gay and lesbian learners. Lastly, teaching about homosexuality at school will ensure the improvement of social justice towards achieving the aims of inclusive education. This will promote peer support, and parental intervention to actualise maximum performance on the encountered negative experiences of gay and lesbian learners, and further create a welcoming safe school environment. The slogan of ‘education for all’ stated that all learners have a right to education in all South African schools, irrespective of the religion, culture, race and sexual orientation. Thus, the findings and recommendations of this study are of special relevance to the South African context.