Swiss schools struggle with homophobic language and bullying

Switzerland documented 92 reports of anti-LGBTQ hate crimes in 2021. © Keystone / Laurent Gillieron

An academic survey has found that homophobia remains rife in Swiss classrooms, the NZZ am Sonntag reported on Sunday.

This content was published on June 5, 2022 - 15:34

One in four high school students admit to uttering anti-gay slurs or engaging in violence against a presumed homosexual classmate in the past year. The derogatory term “faggot” is used by four in five teens although not necessarily in a targeted fashion. These are the findings of a doctoral thesis that polled 151 secondary schools in German-speaking Switzerland.

The more religiously inclined adolescents are, the more likely they are to engage in homophobic behavior, according to the research. Boys tend to be more aggressive than girls.

In 2018, Switzerland made homophobia a criminal offence. Two years later, the Swiss population voted, with 63.1% in favour, to extend the country's hate speech law to cover sexual orientation. That rendered incitement to hatred on account of sexual orientation a criminal offence.

Same-sex marriage will be legal in the Alpine nation as of July 1. 

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Almost finished... We need to confirm your email address. To complete the subscription process, please click the link in the email we just sent you.

Discover our weekly must-reads for free!

Sign up to get our top stories straight into your mailbox.

The SBC Privacy Policy provides additional information on how your data is processed.