Bullying of tongzhi youth: A qualitative investigation in Hong Kong Chinese society

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


“Education for All Children” (有教無類) is the education principle of the Chinese traditional scholar Confucius. It means every student in school should be treated equally. However, the truth is far from this ideal in Hong Kong secondary schools. Tongzhi or sexual minority/LGBQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning/queer) students were perceived as receiving the highest rate of discrimination in secondary schools. The general public’s view towards non-heterosexuality is “homophobic” with Kwok, Wu & Shardlow pointing out that discrimination and school bullying based on sexual orientation has not been prohibited by law. However, the great number of research on bullying does not address sexual orientation as a possible factor, especially in Hong Kong Chinese society where the emphasis of ‘Xiao’ (meaning filial piety) in Chinese Confucianism makes the risk of coming out for tongzhi students a greater threat than it is for Euro-Americans. The present study aims to generate themes, from service providers and youth social workers’ perspectives, to understand the bullying against lesbian and gay youth in Hong Kong, a society with a strong influence of Chinese Confucianism. We used grounded theory approach with individual and focus group interviews, to collect data with 25 informants. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. The qualitative data coding process was facilitated through a qualitative software programme, NVivo. Strategies to ensure the trustworthiness of this research were used in the research process. Several themes emerged: Pervasiveness of the bullying; Sites and perpetrators; Institutional heterosexism and bullying; Minority Stress as effects of bullying; Strategies to address bullying. Individual and institutional heterosexism should be targeted in bullying interventions through multi-level efforts, through professional training and policy change. Copyright © 2013 1st international conference LGBT Psychology and Related Fields.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


Kwok, D. K. (2013, June). Bullying of tongzhi youth: A qualitative investigation in Hong Kong Chinese society. Paper presented at the 1st International Conference on LGBT Psychology and Related Fields: Coming out for LGBT Psychology in the current international scenario, Lisbon, Portugal.


  • Alt. title: Bullying of tongzhi youth: Preliminary results from a qualitative investigation in Hong Kong


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