Challenges faced by gay and lesbian students at a semi -rural South African University

  • D.L. Letsoalo
  • K.A. Nel
  • S. Govender
  • N.B.M. Vawda


A qualitative study was conducted to investigate challenges faced by gay and lesbian students at a semi-rural university in South Africa. The approach was qualitative in nature using an exploratory research design. Snowball sampling was used, and semi-structured interviews were conducted with two focus groups. Thirteen participants (6 gay males and 7 lesbian females), ranging in age from 20 to 25 (M = 22.46 years; SD = 0.89) were interviewed. The data were analysed using Thematic Content Analysis (TCA). Gay and lesbian students face a myriad of problems on the campus environment. Themes and sub-themes that arose out of the data were: bullying, teasing or being called discriminatory names, academic interruption, attacks when perpetrators are using substances; general discrimination, harassment, victimisation, religion, acceptance versus non-acceptance, feeling unsafe and Education. Recommendations are that the institution has more diversity training and addresses the issue with a pertinent policy. It was a small study with findings that cannot be generalised thus a larger, randomised survey is recommended as a follow up.


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eISSN: 1596-9231