Press Room

press room
  • State Law Maps
  • Federal Legislation
  • Resources & Polling
  • Learn more about HRC

August 22, 2014

Category: Mississippi

While resilient,LGBT students in MS face challenges as school begins

08/22/2014

Washington--As students head back to school in Mississippi this fall, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) reminds those within the education community that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth are incredibly resilient and very optimistic about their futures. However, they face difficulties growing up within their communities and schools. A survey commissioned by HRC shows tremendous disparities between LGBT-identified young people when compared with non-LGBT teens.

“Every young person should feel secure and accepted when they go to school each morning. LGBT youth are no different,” said HRC Mississippi director Rob Hill. “School leaders and teachers must ensure all of our children thrive.”

The Human Rights Campaign surveyed more than 10,000 LGBT youth ages 13-17 across the country. The results show LGBT youth are enthusiastic about their futures and believe things will get better in Mississippi. 56 percent say it is likely they will find a good job if they stay in the city where they are living now; 66 percent say it is highly likely they will be active in their current communities, and 69 percent say it is highly likely they will establish a lifelong partnership with someone.

 However, the findings also show the deck is stacked against LGBT young people. Below are key findings from the survey:

 

·         80 percent of LGBT youth surveyed in Mississippi feel they do not fit in; while only 16 percent of non-LGBT youth surveyed nationally feel that way.

·         Just 37 percent of LGBT youth surveyed in Mississippi describe themselves as happy compared to 67 percent of non-LGBT youth surveyed nationally.  

·         59 percent of LGBT youth surveyed in Mississippi say they have been excluded by their peers because they are different compared to only 26 percent of non-LGBT youth surveyed nationally.

·         60 percent of LGBT youth surveyed in Mississippi say they have been verbally harassed and called names at school; while 25 percent of non-LGBT youth surveyed nationally have a similar experience.

 

When we asked participants in the survey to list their biggest concerns, non-LGBT youth answered overwhelmingly with: "getting good grades," "finding a job," and "getting into college." However, for LGBT young people, all those things are still concerns, but they're trumped by, "bullying," "not getting rejected by their families for coming out," and "the struggle to find acceptance." That's an enormous burden that LGBT youth are forced to shoulder alone.

The results are a call to action for adults to encourage all students to succeed. The survey also shows how critical the work of achieving equality is for future generations.

“We must use these findings to ensure resources are available to provide a safe and nurturing environment for our LGBT youth,” said Hill. “It is important we improve the climate within our schools.”

With this data, HRC Mississippi is working to support LGBT youth in schools and their communities. HRC Mississippi is pushing to change hearts and minds, advance enduring legal protections, and build more inclusive institution from the church pew to the workplace. The state has no statewide or local protections in housing, workplace or public accommodations.

The HRC Foundation has a number of programs that work daily to improve the lives of youth and families in schools, the child welfare system, and communities. For more information on HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools Program, click here

 LGBT Youth Survey – National LGBT and Non-LGBT Surveys Compared to MS LGBT


Question

LGBT Nat

Non-LGBT Nat

MS LGBT

Are you happy?

37%

67%

37%

Verbally harassed with “fag” etc.

53%

NA

56%

Things won’t get better

23%

8%

18%

“Don’t fit in”

47%

16%

80%

“Community not LGBT accepting”

42%

NA

66%

Verbally harassed outside of school

36%

10%

39%

Physically harassed outside of school

12%

3%

10%

Attend religious services

28%

58%

34%

Participate in church/religious youth group

22%

47%

32%

Participate in LGBT group outside of school

18%

NA

7%

Churches in community are not LGBT accepting

57%

NA

65%

Own church not LGBT accepting

35%

NA

41%

State government not LGBT accepting

45%

NA

76%

Local government not LGBT accepting

34%

NA

52%

Is there LGBT accepting place in community?

21%

NA

7%

Family not accepting of LGBT people

33%

NA

35%

Verbally harassed at school

51%

25%

60%

Excluded by peers for being different

48%

26%

59%

Physically assaulted at school

17%

10%

27%

Most peers OK with LGBT identity

75%

NA

73%

Participate in LGBT school club

36%

NA

11%

Hear negative messages about being LGBT

92%

NA

100%

Hear positive messages about being LGBT

78%

NA

89%

Tags: