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Exploring heterosexual students' attitudes towards students who identify as gay and lesbian at the Howard College Campus, University of KwaZulu-Natal.

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LGBTQIA+ students seem to be the most marginalised group in the university environment. Homosexual attacks, discrimination, oppression, verbal harassment, and physical threats reflect negative attitudes towards LGBTQIA+ students on the Howard University campus. Numerous factors play a role in influencing attitudes towards LGBTQIA+ students such as culture, religion, social media, and derogatory language that is used against LGBTQIA+. This study adopted a qualitative approach to explore the attitudes of heterosexual students towards LGBTQIA+ students on campus. Ten participants were interviewed using an interview schedule, and data were analysed using thematic analysis. The study’s findings show that negative attitudes towards gay and lesbian students at UKZN still exist, and male heterosexual students have more negative attitudes towards LGBTQIA+ than female heterosexual students. The main themes that emerged from the study show that verbal harassment and physical threats are common toward gay and lesbian students on campus. The study’s findings provide insight into the attitudes of heterosexual students towards students who identify as gay and lesbian. The recommendations from the study are that educational institutions develop strategies for integrating LGBTQIA+ students into the higher education system by ensuring a support system and appropriate organisational responses to specifically address these issues. The study further recommends that the university give specific support by hiring social workers to provide attitude-responsive educational programmes and participate in policy development at the university management level.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.