Making Schools Safe for LGBTQ+ Community
Schools should be a young person's primary center for learning, growing, and building a foundation for success in the world. High school can be challenging for any student, but LGBTQ+ youth face additional obstacles of harassment, abuse, and violence.
- Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer bullying is alarming. In fact 9 out of 10 LGBTQ+ students reported being harassed and bullied last year.
- Over one-third of LGBTQ+ students are physically assaulted at school because their sexual orientation and gender identity are different than those of heterosexual students.
- About two-thirds of LGBTQ+ students reported having ever been sexually harassed (e.g., sexual remarks made, being touched inappropriately) in school in the past year.
- Over half of all students report hearing homophobic remarks often at school. More than 30% reported missing at least a day of school in the past month out of fear for their personal safety.
- LGBTQ+ students at schools with comprehensive policies on bullying and harassment are much more likely to report harassment to school authorities who, in turn, were more likely to respond effectively.
- The average GPA for students who were frequently physically harassed because of their sexual orientation was half a grade lower than that of other students.
- LGBTQ+ students are twice as likely to say that they were not planning on completing high school or going on to college.
- Gay teens are 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide and 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression compared with peers from families that reported no or low levels of family rejection.
Treating LGBTQ+ Students With Respect
The language used against LGBTQ+ students is unconscionable. LGBTQ+ Students, like any other students deserve to be treated with tolerance, respect and dignity because the reality is, it should never matter what your sexual orientation or identity is.
Principles guiding the rights approach on sexual orientation relate to equality and non-discrimination. Human rights advocates and other activists seek to ensure social justice and guarantee the dignity of LGBTQ+'s because like anyone else an LGBTQ+ student is a person just like you are. The ONLY difference is their sexual orientation.
Maybe you're different because you're tall, underweight or dress differently than others. NO MATTER what our differences are everyone one deserves to be treated with respect and dignity!
- We cannot accept ignorance
- We cannot accept intolerance
- We cannot accept name-calling
- We must all respect each other
- We must all accept others
- We must all be tolerant of others
- We must all be allies
We are ALL the same – NO MATTER™! We are ALL people!
Let’s create a world of love, kindness, compassion and respect. There is no reason to call someone a name for any reason! If you don't understand an LGBTQ+'s sexual orientation -- learn more. Educate yourself! Educate others!
Creating a safe environment for all students - LGBTQ+ and straight alike - begins with being acceptance, tolerance and respect.
CELEBRATE our differences and HONOR our similarities! NO MATTER™!
LGBTQ+ Bullying Prevention | Start a Gay-Straight Alliance at Your School
- Establish a GSA the same way you would establish any other club. Look in your Student Handbook for the rules at your school. You will need permission from a school administrator, as well as finding a faculty adviser and writing a constitution.
- Find a faculty advisor teacher who you feel would be supportive or who already has proven to be an ally around sexual orientation issues.
- Discuss your plans with school administrators at the onset. You want an administrator on your side who will be your school liaison with administration, teachers, students, parents, community members and the school board. Share your plans with school guidance counselors and social workers. Forming a GSA is protected under the Federal Equal Access Act.
- Select a meeting place that is private and offers confidentiality. If your meeting place is high-profile members may be discouraged to participate.
- Advertise your alliance through fliers at school, school bulletin announcements, and word of mouth. If your advertising materials are torn down or defaced, keep putting them back up. Posting fliers with words like "end homophobia" or "discuss sexual orientation" can help raise awareness and can make other students feel safer – even if they don’t attend meetings.
- Start out with a discussion about why people think the group is important. You can also brainstorm things your club would like to do this year. Offer snacks.
- Create ground rules to ensure that group discussions are safe, confidential and respectful. Adopt a rule that no assumptions or labels are used about a group member's sexual orientation. This helps all members gay and straight to feel comfortable about attending meetings.