Despite the significant strides made toward LGBTQ equality, LGBTQ youth in America continue to face many challenges. Across this country, in schools large and small, public and private, LGBTQ youth frequently face bullying.
HRC’s groundbreaking report,Growing Up LGBT in America, found that LGBTQ youth are twice as likely as their peers to say they have been physically assaulted, kicked or shoved at school. Twenty-one percent of LGBTQ youth identified school/bullying as the most important problem facing them right now.
Shockingly, 92 percent of LGBTQ youth say they hear negative messages about being LGBT. The top sources are school and their peers.
As we honor National Bullying Prevention Month, we recognize the resilience of LGBTQ youth and the work that still needs to be done around the country to protect our youth.
In Washington, D.C., and in state capitals, HRC fights for safe schools legislation that protects LGBT young people from discrimination and bullying. Many states have already adopted inclusive legislation, but there remains work to be done to implement those laws through training and increasing the cultural competence of educators and other school personnel.. On the federal level, HRC advocates for better protections for LGBT students, with a current focus on non-discrimination and anti-bullying/harassment policies. Additionally, HRC seeks to improve the way current laws are implemented for LGBT youth.
HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools program is an LGBT-inclusive approach to addressing family diversity, gender stereotyping, bullying and name-calling in elementary schools. Its attention to helping educators to know how to address gender stereotyping and identity-based name-calling can help create safer school cultures for all students. Additionally, addressing bullying behavior in elementary school is critical to providing safety for LGBTQ students that often come out in middle school.
To learn more about Welcoming Schools’ approach to end bullying and name-calling, click here.