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A Call to Action: LGBTQ+ Youth Need Inclusive Sex Education

May 1, 2021

A Call to Action: LGBTQ+ Youth Need Inclusive Sex Education details the urgent need for LGBTQ+-inclusive sex education programs and supports. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) youth – particularly those who are at the intersection of multiple marginalized communities – need to be able to learn in settings that are inclusive of their experiences and that give them the necessary tools to stay safe and healthy. However, whether legally barred or simply ignored, LGBTQ+-inclusive sex education is not available for most youth, especially for LGBTQ youth who are Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC).Written and endorsed by SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change, URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity Advocates for Youth, Answer, Black & Pink, the Equality Federation, GLSEN, the Human Rights Campaign, the National LGBTQ Task Force, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America, this report provides guidance for parents and families, youth, educators, and policymakers to:Become advocates for LGBTQ+-inclusive sex education;Ensure that school is a safe and accepting space for LGBTQ+ students;Implement LGBTQ+-inclusive sex education in schools, community settings and online;Talk to their own children and teens about sex and sexuality; andWork to remove state-level legal and policy barriers to LGBTQ+-inclusive sex education in schools and to require inclusive programs.

From Statehouse to Schoolhouse: Anti-Bullying Policy Efforts in U.S. States and School Districts

July 15, 2015

In 2011, 29.5 percent of U.S. public school districts didn't have anti-bullying policies, including many districts in states that require them, according to a report published by GLSEN. In states with such mandates, 26.3 percent of districts didn't have local policies. The report shows the gap that can emerge between the intentions of a law and the effectiveness of its implementation via policy and regulations.

Out Online: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth on the Internet

July 10, 2013

This report examines the online experiences of LGBT students in 6-12th grade. LGBT youth experience nearly three times as much bullying and harassment online as non-LGBT youth, but also find greater peer support, access to health information and opportunities to be civically engaged.

The Experiences of LGBT Students in School Athletics

February 20, 2013

This research brief examines the experiences of LGBT student athletes between the ages of 13 and 20. Findings in this research brief uncover four key concerns:1. Physical Education classes were unsafe environments for many LGBT students. 2. LGBT students may be underrepresented on extracurricular sports teams. 3. Many LGBT students experienced discrimination and harassment in school sports. 4. LGBT student athletes may not be fully supported by school athletics staff and policies.

Strengths and Silences: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Students in Rural and Small Town Schools

December 12, 2012

For more than 20 years, GLSEN has worked to make schools safer for all students; it has sought specifically to reduce the bullying and harassment targeted at students' sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. For lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students across the country, violence and harassment experienced in school affect their ability to learn. Although schools in urban areas are typically regarded as more violent or dangerous than schools in other areas, findings from our National School Climate Surveys consistently show that it is most often rural schools that may pose the greatest threats for LGBT students. It may be that community characteristics, such as religious and cultural traditions, income, and educational levels, influence individual beliefs and attitudes toward LGBT people in these areas. It may also be that a lack of positive LGBT-related school resources negatively affects LGBT students' school engagement and academic performance, particularly if they also experience bullying and harassment. Although research on the educational experiences of LGBT youth has grown considerably over the past 25 years, less is known about rural students specifically. This research report examines the experiences of LGBT students in small town and rural areas on matters related to biased language in schools, school safety, harassment and victimization, educational outcomes, school engagement, and LGBT-related resources and support. It also examines the prevalence and utility of LGBT-related resources in rural schools. Finally, this report concludes by advocating for more intentional policies, measures, and programs that protect LGBT students.

The 2011 National School Climate Survey: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth in Our Nation's Schools

September 5, 2012

In 1999, GLSEN identified the need for national data on the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students and launched the first National School Climate Survey (NSCS). At the time, the school experiences of LGBT youth were under-documented and nearly absent from national studies of adolescents. For more than a decade, the biennial NSCS has documented the unique challenges LGBT students face and identified interventions that can improve school climate. The survey explores the prevalence of anti-LGBT language and victimization, the effect that these experiences have on LGBT students' achievement and well-being, and the utility of interventions in lessening the negative effects of a hostile school climate and promoting a positive educational experience. The survey also examines demographic and community-level differences in LGBT students' experiences.The NSCS remains one of the few studies to examine the school experiences of LGBT students nationally, and its results have been vital to GLSEN's understanding of the issues that LGBT students face, thereby informing our ongoing work to ensure safe and affirming schools for all.In our 2011 survey, we examine the experiences of LGBT students with regard to indicators of negative school climate:hearing biased remarks, including homophobic remarks, in school;feeling unsafe in school because of personal characteristics, such as sexual orientation, gender expression, or race/ethnicity;missing classes or days of school because of safety reasons; andexperiencing harassment and assault in school.We also examine:the possible negative effects of a hostile school climate on LGBT students' academic achievement, educational aspirations, and psychological well-being;whether or not students report experiences of victimization to school officials or to family members and how these adults address the problem; andhow the school experiences of LGBT students differ by personal and community characteristics.In addition, we demonstrate the degree to which LGBT students have access to supportive resources in school, and we explore the possible benefits of these resources, including:Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) or similar clubs;anti-bullying/harassment school policies and laws;supportive school staff; andcurricula that are inclusive of LGBT-related topics.Given that GLSEN has more than a decade of data, we examine changes over the time on indicators of negative school climate and levels of access to LGBT-related resources in schools.

Teaching Respect: LGBT-Inclusive Curriculum and School Climate

April 24, 2012

For many students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT), school is a hostile environment that can negatively affect academic performance and personal well-being. One strategy that educators can employ to promote safe and affirming school environments is including positive representations of LGBT people, history, and events in the curriculum. Among the LGBT students in GLSEN's 2009 National School Climate Survey, attending a school with an LGBT-inclusive curriculum was related to a less-hostile school experience for LGBT students as well as increased feelings of connectedness to their school communities. Despite these benefits, the vast majority of LGBT students do not have access to an inclusive curriculum.

Playgrounds and Prejudice: Elementary School Climate in the United States

January 18, 2012

Playgrounds and Prejudice: Elementary School Climate in the United States details findings of national surveys of 1,065 elementary school students in 3rd to 6th grade and 1,099 elementary school teachers of K-6th grade. The report examines students' and teachers' experiences with biased remarks and bullying, and their attitudes about gender expression and family diversity.

The 2009 National School Climate Survey: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth in Our Nation's Schools

September 14, 2010

National survey of the school experiences of 7,261 lesbian, gay, bisexual and trasngender secondary school students.In our 2009 survey, we examine the experiences of LGBT students with regard to indicators of negative school climate:hearing biased remarks, including homophobic remarks, in school;feeling unsafe in school because of personal characteristics, such as sexual orientation, gender expression, or race/ethnicity;missing classes or days of school because of safety reasons; andexperiences of harassment and assault in school. We also examine the possible negative effects of a hostile school climate on LGBT students' academic achievement, educational aspirations, and psychological well-being. We explore the diverse nature of LGBT students' experiences by reporting on how these differ by students' personal and community characteristics. We also examine whether or not students report experiences of victimization to school officials or to family members and how these adults address the problem. In addition, we demonstrate the degree to which LGBT students have access to supportive resources in school, and we explore the possible benefits of these resources, including Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs), school harassment/assault policies, supportive school staff, and curriculum that is inclusive of LGBT-related topics.Given that we now have 10 years of data, we examine changes over the past decade on both indicators of negative school climate and levels of access to LGBT-related resources in schools.

Year One Evaluation of the New York City Department of Education Respect for All Training Program

June 24, 2010

The GLSEN Research Department conducted an evaluation of the New York City Department of Education's (NYC DOE) Respect for All training program for secondary school educators. The two-day training program, which was one component of the NYC DOE's Respect for All initiative, was implemented so that every secondary school in the district had at least one staff member who could support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) students and combat all forms of bias-based bullying and harassment, particularly bias based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.In order to evaluate Year One of the training program, GLSEN surveyed 813 educators who participated in the training at three times -- before the training, six weeks after, and six months after. Training participants were also compared to educators who had not yet completed the training. Focus groups were conducted in order to gain a greater, in-depth understanding of participants' experiences in the training. Key findings are listed below.Compared to before the training, after the training educators demonstrated increased:Knowledge of appropriate terms;Access to LGBTQ-related resources;Awareness of how their own practices might have been harmful to LGBTQ students;Empathy for LGBTQ students;Belief in the importance of intervening in anti-LGBTQ remarks;Communication with students and staff about LGBTQ issues;Engagement in activities to create safer schools for LGBTQ students (i.e., supporting Gay-Straight Alliances, including LGBTQ content in curriculum); andFrequency of intervention in anti-LGBTQ name-calling, bullying, and harassment.In addition, compared to educators who had not yet participated in the training, those who had participated in the training indicated higher levels of:Knowledge of appropriate terms;Access to LGBTQ-related resources;Empathy for LGBTQ students;Communication with students and staff about LGBTQ issues; andEngagement in activities to create safer schools for LGBTQ students.Findings from the Year One evaluation demonstrate that this training program is an effective means for developing the competency of educators to address bias-based bullying and harassment, and to create safer school environments for LGBTQ students. The findings suggest that providing such training to all school staff, including administrators, would result in an even stronger effect on the school environment. Furthermore, ensuring sufficient opportunities for developing educators' skills in intervening in anti-LGBTQ behaviors could enhance the effectiveness of trainings. To maintain the benefits of training, staff should receive continued and advanced professional development opportunities related to supporting LGBTQ students and combating bias-based bullying and harassment.

Harsh Realities: The Experiences of Transgender Youth in Our Nation's Schools

March 17, 2009

Using data from GLSEN's fifth National School Climate Survey, this report documents the school experiences of 295 transgender middle and high school students and finds that these students face extremely high levels of victimization, even more so than their non-transgender lesbian, gay and bisexual peers.

Shared Differences: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Students of Color in Our Nation's Schools

January 15, 2009

The report documents the school experiences of over 2,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) U.S. middle and high school students of color who were African American or Black, Latino/a, Asian or Pacific Islander, Native American, and multiracial.