Majority of United States schools are unsafe for LGBTI students

A school bus flies the rainbow flag in support of LGBT students

A new report from GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) reveals that a majority of schools in the United States have unsafe environments for LGBTI students.

Their State Snapshots looks at 41 states and Puerto Rico, collecting and analyzing data about various forms of discrimination in schools.

The information comes from past reports GLSEN has conducted, such as the 2017 National School Climate Survey.

In this new gathering of data, GLSEN looked at every state plus Puerto Rico, except for Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Alaska, Hawaii, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

They looked at things like harassment and assault on the basis of sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity, as well as certain restrictions.

The report also looks at available resources and offers recommendations.

How did most states fare?

A majority of LGBTI students in every state assessed reported hearing anti-LGBTI remarks made by other students. This includes slurs and negative comments about gender identity and transgender individuals.

A majority of LGBTI students in all states also reported being verbally harassed for their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender. Only a handful of states had less than half of all LGBTI students reporting verbal harassment based on gender.

Puerto Rico was the only state where less than half of all LGBTI students (35%) reported hearing negative comments about trans people.

This is in line with other reports, such as HRC and the University of Connecticut’s 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report.

Restrictions and resources

LGBTI students also report facing numerous restrictions at their schools.

In Alabamba, for example, 37% osaid school officials prevented them from wearing clothing considered ‘inappropriate for their gender’.

Nearly half (49%) in Mississippi said school figures prevented them from showing any form of PDA (physical displays of affection).

These numbers are smaller in more liberally-perceived states.

In California, only 15% said they were prevented from wearing certain types of clothing. Meanwhile, 19% in New York said they couldn’t show PDA.

These disparities are also present in LGBTI resources.

In California and New York, more than half of all LGBTI students report having a supportive administration. They also report having six or more supportive educators and a GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance).

Around a quarter or less of LGBTI students in Mississippi and Alabama report having these support networks.

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Author: Anya Crittenton

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