According to the 2017 National School Climate Survey from GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network), progress in making schools more inclusive and less hostile for LGBTQ students has slowed down after years of improvement.
The survey polled more than 23,000 students across the United States ages 13-21 between April and August of 2017.
The average age of participants was 15.6 years-old and four in ten of those surveyed identified as gay or lesbian.
The results of the survey showed that after years of declining harassment, the improving climate seems to have plateaued (see graphic below).
From the survey:
• Almost 60% of LGBTQ students felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation; 44% because of their gender expression
• Almost 35% of LGBTQ students say they missed a day of school in the past month because they felt unsafe
• 4 in 10 avoided gender-segregated spaces like bathrooms or locker rooms due to safety concerns
• 98.5% of LGBTQ students have heard the term “gay” used in a negative way; 70% say they hear these remarks frequently
• 70.1% of LGBTQ students say they’ve experienced verbal harassment based on sexual orientation; almost 60% based on gender expression
• Almost 30% say they’ve been physically harassed (pushed, shoved) based on sexual orientation; 24.4% based on gender expression
• 12.4% of LGBTQ students say they’ve been physically assaulted (punched, kicked) based on sexual orientation; 11.2% based on gender expression
• 42.2% of LGBTQ students say they considered dropping out of school due to harassment
• 48.7% of LGBTQ students have experienced cyberbullying in the past year
• 57.3% of LGBTQ students reported being sexually harassed in the past year at school
The majority of LGBTQ students (55.3%) who were victimized in school did not report the incident believing no effective intervention would happen or the situation could become worse.
Of the students who did report an incident, 60.4% say school staff did nothing or told the student to ignore it.
One piece of good news: more students reported having a Gay/Straight Alliance (53.3%) at their school than ever before.
The data shows that when a school offers a GSA, LGBTQ students were less likely to hear homophobic or transphobic slurs; saw more intervention by school personnel; and were less likely to feel unsafe at school due to their sexual orientation.
Head over to GLSEN to read the full report.