Today, Vice President Pence and Secretary DeVos visited Thales Academy to highlight their half-baked calls to reopen schools. Thales Academy has a long history of discrimination against LGBTQ students and even banned them from discussing their sexual orientation and gender identity. In response, HRC Associate Regional Campaign Director Melodía Gutiérrez issued the following statement:
“LGBTQ children are some of the most vulnerable members of our community. Each year, thousands of LGBTQ children die by suicide or are forced out of their homes because of family and community rejection. It tells you a lot about the warped values of Mike Pence and Betsy DeVos that they choose to highlight a school like Thales Academy that refuses to even allow students to talk about their sexual orientation, let alone seek refuge in friends as they struggle to embrace their identities.”
Forty percent of LGBTQ+ youth and more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth reported seriously considering suicide in the past year, according to a 2020 survey by The Trevor Project.
In 2017, HRC released a survey of 50,000 youth, believed to be the largest ever of its kind, that found 70 percent of respondents witnessed bullying, hate messages or harassment after the 2016 election, with racial bias the most common motive cited. More than a quarter of LGBTQ youth said they had been personally bullied or harassed since Election Day 2016 -- compared to 14 percent of non-LGBTQ youth -- with transgender young people most frequently targeted.