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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 11, 2019 - Volume 47 Issue 02
Most US schools unsafe for LGBTI students, GLSEN report says
Section One
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Most US schools unsafe for LGBTI students, GLSEN report says

Washington State schools criticized

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Most US schools are unsafe for LGBTI students, a new report from the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) says.

Washington schools also come in for criticism in the report issued on January 9. The information comes from GLSEN's 2017 National School Climate Survey.

GLSEN's 'State Snapshots' include data from 41 states and Puerto Rico - every state except for Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Alaska, Hawaii, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

A majority of LGBTI students in every state for which GLSEN has data reported hearing anti-LGBTI remarks made by other students. This includes slurs and negative comments about both sexual orientation and gender identity.

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 territory 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 the HRC and the University of Connecticut's 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report.

Washington State
'Findings from the GLSEN 2017 National School Climate Survey demonstrate that Washington schools were not safe for most lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) secondary school students,' GLSEN concluded.

According to the report, many LGBTQ students in Washington did not have access to important school resources, such as an LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum, and were not protected by supportive and inclusive school policies.

The vast majority of LGBTQ students in Washington regularly heard anti-LGBTQ remarks. Some also regularly heard school staff make homophobic remarks (18%) and negative remarks about someone's gender expression (39%).

Most LGBTQ students in Washington experienced anti-LGBTQ victimization at school. They also experienced victimization at school based on religion (22%), disability (25%), and race/ethnicity (23%).

Most never reported the incident to school staff (53%). Only 26% of students who did report incidents said it resulted in effective staff intervention.

Many LGBTQ students in Washington reported discriminatory policies or practices at their school. Nearly 3 in 5 (57%) experienced at least one form of anti-LGBTQ discrimination at school during the past year.

In Washington, 30% of LGBTQ students and half of transgender students were unable to use the school restroom aligned with their gender. Additionally, 1 in 4 LGBTQ students (26%) and over 2 in 5 transgender students (43%) were prevented from using their chosen name or pronouns in school.

More than one-quarter of LGBTQ students (27%) in Washington were disciplined for public displays of affection (PDAs) that did not result in similar action for non-LGBTQ students.

LGBTQ students in Washington experienced other forms of school discrimination: being unable to form a gay-straight alliance (GSA) (12%), being unable to wear LGBTQ-supportive apparel (11%), being prevented or discouraged from playing school sports due to an LGBTQ identity (10%), being unable to bring a same-gender date to a school dance (7%), and being disciplined at school for identifying as LGBTQ (2%).

Comparison to other states
By way of comparison, 37% of LGBT students in Alabama said 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.

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

These disparities are also present in LGBTI resources.

In California and New York, more than half of all LGBTI students reported having a supportive administration. They also reported having six or more supportive educators and a GSA.

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

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