Sexual diversity and social vulnerability: Voices from learners in Lesotho
A growing body of evidence points to social vulnerability of sexually diverse learners in Lesotho. Sexual diversity is entirely a new phenomenon, gaining little, where it does, or no recognition at all in many parts of the country. For a long time, only two sexual categories, a man and a woman ever ‘existed’, and sexual attractions and acts defined accordingly to fit such binary perceptions. The school curriculum too has been silent about LGBTQI issues. Through adoption of social exchange theory, this study investigated the experiences of LGBTQI learners in Lesotho high schools, and the social vulnerability that they might encounter in school, as sexually diverse population. After administering individual dialogues, and thematically analyzing data, the three main themes that emerged from the findings of this study suggests that LGBTQI learners in Lesotho face social rejection from both their school mates and educators, LGBTQI learners are discriminated against by school’s laws and regulations, and lastly, a vast majority of LGBTQI students do not reveal their real sexual orientations with fear of discrimination from their school mates and educators as well.
Key words: sexual diversity, LGBTQI learners, social vulnerability, Lesotho.