HRC Releases Call to Action to Support Trans and Gender-Expansive Children and Youth

by Madeleine Roberts

The HRC Foundation’s analysis of 2019 CDC data finds trans and gender-expansive high schoolers face negative outcomes compared to cisgender youth

Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, released a call to action, “Parents of Transgender and Gender-Expansive Students Respond to the CDC’s Latest Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Data.” The call to action, written by HRC’s Parents for Transgender Equality National Council, lays out the stark realities facing trans and gender-expansive youth in high schools across the United States and a call to action to support them inside and outside the classroom.

The release of the call to action comes at the beginning of Transgender Awareness Week, a week that is dedicated to illuminating both the progress and unfinished work in the fight for transgender and non-binary equality. Today, HRC is marking Trans Awareness Week by lifting up the experiences of transgender and gender-expansive children and youth.

“The Human Rights Campaign’s analysis makes clear that transgender and gender-expansive children and youth urgently need more support from their families, schools and peers. To begin to fix this situation, this call to action zeroes in on the challenges trans and gender-expansive youth are facing, and provides concrete suggestions of how to find solutions to these challenges so they are able to thrive. The Human Rights Campaign is committed to working to ensure that all students -- including trans and gender-expansive students -- have the resources and assistance they need to bring their full selves to the classroom and beyond.”

Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign President

HRC’s analysis found that transgender and gender-expansive students experience all forms of harassment and bullying in our schools and communities, in far greater numbers than their cisgender peers. They report being afraid to go to school, which results in poorer grades and the narrowing of opportunities after high school. The toll of a hostile school environment on gender-expansive youth also includes higher levels of substance abuse and mental health crises including depression and suicidality, which they experience at four times the rate of their cisgender peers.

  • 43% were bullied on school property at three times the rate of their cisgender peers;
  • 29% reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property, compared to 7% of cisgender students;
  • 35% reported skipping school due to fear for their safety, compared to 9% of cisgender students;
  • 33% reported experiencing sexual violence and 28% reported being raped. These numbers diverge significantly from those of cisgender youth, at three to four times; and
  • 29% reported attempting suicide at least once in their life, over four times the national average.

Transgender Awareness Week, which this year runs from Friday Nov. 13 through Friday Nov. 20, is dedicated to illuminating both the progress and unfinished work in the fight for transgender and non-binary equality. The week culminates in Transgender Day of Remembrance, held every year on Nov. 20. Transgender Day of Remembrance is a time to remember the transgender and gender non-conforming people who have been lost to fatal violence over the course of the previous year. Learn more about the HRC Foundation’s work at

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