HRC Foundation, 23 Project THRIVE Partners Release Statement Calling for Greater Support of LGBTQ Youth

by Madeleine Roberts

Today, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and 23 of our Project THRIVE partners released a joint statement on the importance of ensuring youth-serving professionals are giving LGBTQ youth the support they need to thrive. The statement comes in response to the HRC Foundation’s new analysis of the Centers for Disease Control’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance (YRBS) data that shows LGBTQ youth, especially transgender and questioning youth, are living in crisis. Read the full joint statement here.

The findings from the HRC Foundation’s analysis of the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance (YRBS) data are staggering. LGBTQ youth are in a state of crisis in this country, and this must be addressed. These data continue to make clear what we at HRC, and many youth-serving professionals, have long known -- that LGBTQ youth and children are not receiving the support they need to thrive. Today, the HRC Foundation is proud to join with 23 of our Project THRIVE partners in support of LGBTQ youth. The data analysis, joint statement and checklist on how to be more LGBTQ-inclusive are all vital tools to help ensure that LGBTQ youth in this country are receiving the support, affirmation and safety that they need and deserve. HRC and all of our Project THRIVE partners will continue working to make sure that all youth-serving professionals have the resources they need to support LGBTQ youth.

Vincent Pompei, HRC Foundation Director, Youth Well-Being Program and Time to THRIVE

Our progress as a nation relies on schools’ ability to cultivate the potential of every child, regardless of race, background, sexual orientation, gender identification or any other characteristic that might marginalize them. For principals, that means we must make school a physically and emotionally safe place where all students can become their best selves. And we must intensify our efforts to create that space especially for LGBTQ+ students, who are bullied and harassed at tragically high rates. Our failure to do so hurts not just the child but all of us who miss out on all that young person might otherwise contribute to the world and future we all share.

JoAnn Bartoletti, CEO, National Association of Secondary School Principals

Every young person deserves to learn and grow in a safe and nurturing environment, without the fear of bullying, violence or discrimination -- including LGBTQ youth. It is clear that there is an urgent need for action to create a climate of acceptance and inclusion for all students. At PTA, we know that we can speak louder and do more together than apart. It is critical that we work together immediately to turn the tide and ensure LGBTQ youth have every opportunity to thrive at school, at home and in their communities.

Nathan R. Monell, CAE, Executive Director of National PTA

The HRC Foundation’s analysis of the YRBS data demonstrates that LGBTQ teens are continuing to experience bullying and violence from their peers, communities and partners across the United States. As a result, LGBTQ youth more often skip school due to feeling unsafe, have lower academic performance and live in a state of mental health crisis. These experiences are compounded by high rates of sleep deprivation and depressive symptoms. Struggling with rejection, bullying and violence, LGBTQ teens also have higher rates of substance use, which they may be using as a coping tool in their lives.

HRC Foundation and our Project THRIVE partners have developed a checklist to guide schools and youth-serving organizations on what they can do to improve the lives of LGBTQ youth. The research-based actions included in the checklist can significantly decrease bias and stigma that result in hostile environments for LGBTQ students, and create safe and affirming spaces where all young people can thrive.

Initially launched in May 2019, Project THRIVE is a multi-year national campaign with the goal of creating more equitable, inclusive support systems and communities for LGBTQ youth. Project THRIVE aims to build the knowledge, skills and capacities of all youth-serving professionals to better meet the needs of LGBTQ young people. Project THRIVE is a collaborative effort of many national organizations, each committed to identifying opportunities within their own sphere of influence to increase awareness about and provide resources to address the unmet needs of LGBTQ youth, and to highlight best practices and success stories from their respective professional fields.

HRC’s 23 Project THRIVE partners who have signed onto the joint statement include: Alliance for Strong Families and Communities; American Academy of Pediatrics; American Association of School Librarians; American Counseling Association; American Federation of Teachers; American School Counselor Association; Big Brothers Big Sisters of America; Boost Collaborative; Child Mind Institute; Child Welfare League of America; Council of Juvenile Justice Administrators; Mental Health America; National Association for College Admissions Counseling; National Association of School Nurses; National Association of School Psychologists; National Association of Secondary School Principals; National Association of Social Workers; National Education Association; National Parent Teacher Association; National Register of Health Service Psychologists; Point Source Youth; School Social Work Association of America; Society of Pediatric Nurses.

Contact Us

To make a general inquiry, please visit our contact page. Members of the media can reach our press office at: (202) 572-8968 or email