GLSEN Releases Survey

Finds Little Change in LGBT Victimization

GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, has marked the culmination of 10 years of pioneering research documenting the experiences of LGBT students with the release of The 2009 National School Climate Survey.

 

The 2009 survey of 7,261 middle and high school students found that at school nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students experienced harassment at school in the past year and nearly two-thirds felt unsafe because of their sexual orientation. Nearly a third of LGBT students skipped at least one day of school in the past month because of safety concerns.

An analysis of National School Climate Survey data over 10 years showed that since 1999 there has been a decreasing trend in the frequency of hearing homophobic remarks. However, LGBT students’ experiences with more severe forms of bullying and harassment have remained relatively constant.

“In 1999, GLSEN began data collection on the school experiences of LGBT students in order to fill a critical void in our knowledge and understanding of the ways LGBT issues play out in schools. It could not be clearer that there is an urgent need for action to create safe and affirming schools for LGBT students,” GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard said. “As our nation seems to finally be taking bullying more seriously, it is crucial that LGBT students are no longer left out of efforts to address this public health crisis.”

Key Findings Include:

  • 84.6% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 40.1% reported being physically harassed and 18.8% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation.

  • 63.7% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 27.2% reported being physically harassed and 12.5% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their gender expression.

  • 72.4% heard homophobic remarks, such as "faggot" or "dyke," frequently or often at school.

  • Nearly two-thirds (61.1%) of students reported that they felt unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation, and more than a third (39.9%) felt unsafe because of their gender expression.

  • 29.1% of LGBT students missed a class at least once and 30.0% missed at least one day of school in the past month because of safety concerns, compared to only 8.0% and 6.7%, respectively, of a national sample of secondary school students.

"A look at the data reveals some gains in the availability of resources and supportive educators, thanks in part to GLSEN’s work and that of educators and advocates across the country committed to safe and affirming environments for all students,” said Dr. Joseph Kosciw, GLSEN Senior Director of Research and Strategic Initiatives.

“Nevertheless, it is still the minority of LGBT students who report having sufficient support in school, which may explain why we have not seen greater improvements regarding in-school victimization. Without greater leadership and commitment to addressing anti-LGBT bias and behavior, we likely have a long way to go before we see significant change,” Kosciw states.

GLSEN's biennial National School Climate Survey is the only national survey to document the experiences of students who identify as LGBT in America's secondary schools.

 

For more information, please visit GLSEN.org.

 


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