The Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Welcoming Schools Trainings, Resources Benefitted a Record 600,000 Students During Year of Unprecedented Attacks on LGBTQ+ Inclusion

by Jared Todd

Since 2011, Welcoming Schools has trained educators in all 50 States and the District of Columbia, and in Aruba, Bahamas, Denmark, El Salvador, Germany, Honduras, Mexico, Qatar, Taiwan and Uganda

WASHINGTON — Today, the Welcoming Schools program — the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s program to ensure pre-K-12 school communities have access to the critical tools necessary to support family diversity, prevent bias-based bullying and support transgender and non-binary students — released its second annual report detailing the growing impact of their work amidst the widespread attacks taking place across the country. Since the beginning of 2023, HRC has been tracking over 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills in state legislatures, many of which specifically target LGBTQ+ youth. In the face of book bans, anti-transgender bathroom bills and sports bans, the Welcoming Schools program, in its 15th year, introduced new resources and provided critical services and training to a record number of educators and school leaders over the past year.

A Human Rights Campaign Foundation national survey of LGBTQ+ teens done in partnership with the University of Connecticut found that 62% of LGBTQ+ youth have been bullied at school due to sexuality or gender identity. Prior to doing a Welcoming Schools training, less than half (42%) of educators say they feel they have the skills and knowledge to support LGBTQ+ students — after a Welcoming Schools training, that number more than doubles (86%).

Welcoming Schools has shown us again that while extremist legislators are fixated on stripping parents, students and educators of their right to access inclusive learning environments, teachers and families are pushing back, wanting to expand their support systems for LGBTQ+ youth. Thanks to the Welcoming Schools team, who have been working on the ground in local communities supporting LGBTQ+ inclusion in schools, we’ve reached a record number of students this year – 600,000 – with the tools to ensure that every kid can chase their dreams and find acceptance for who they are in the classroom. In this critical work for the mental health and wellbeing of our children, we’ve shown students that they are not alone."

Kelley Robinson, President of the Human Rights Campaign

This year, Welcoming Schools introduced new conference modules, instructional resource guides for secondary educators, toolkits and booklists. Welcoming Schools is also in the process of ensuring all resources are accessible to those that speak Spanish, and are available on the program’s website. The National Day of Reading, hosted by Welcoming Schools and sponsored by the National Education Association and the American Association of School Librarians, had a record number of participants that exceeded expectations: 38,000 participants from locations all across the United States, United Arab Emirates, Ghana and Canada engaged in the event.

Welcoming Schools is committed to meeting the growing needs of the educators and students we serve. In our 15th year, our program is more robust than ever before. Still, we continue to work towards greater outreach and expanded resources to those schools and families who have seen such devastating and unprecedented attacks from their own legislators. When we give students an opportunity to see themselves and their classmates represented at school, we teach them to embrace diversity and inclusion in all facets of their lives."

Cheryl Greene, Director of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Welcoming Schools program

Resources for Pre-K-12 educators include the following:

To access more of Welcoming Schools’ free resources, visit

As a founding alliance member of The Choose Kindness Project, Welcoming Schools is thrilled to be a part of the nation’s leading organizations on bullying prevention, intentional inclusion and mental wellness. In collaboration with alliance partner the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Welcoming Schools has produced a powerful video and resource for secondary educators focused on identity-based bullying. This promotional video is a snapshot of the full video that will be available on our Welcoming Schools website in early summer 2023.

To read the full Welcoming Schools annual report, click here. For more information on the Welcoming Schools program, visit

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people. Through its programs, the HRC Foundation seeks to make transformational change in the everyday lives of LGBTQ+ people, shedding light on inequity and deepening the public’s understanding of LGBTQ+ issues, with a clear focus on advancing transgender and racial justice. Its work has transformed the landscape for more than 15 million workers, 11 million students, 1 million clients in the adoption and foster care system and so much more. The HRC Foundation provides direct consultation and technical assistance to institutions and communities, driving the advancement of inclusive policies and practices; it builds the capacity of future leaders and allies through fellowship and training programs; and, with the firm belief that we are stronger working together, it forges partnerships with advocates in the U.S. and around the globe to increase our impact and shape the future of our work.

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