The study found that 98.9% of students had heard anti-LGBTQ+ abuse, with a further 59% feeling unsafe in school.
A shocking new study from GSLEN has found that last year almost every LGBTQ+ student in America had heard some form of anti-LGBTQ+ abuse. The study spoke to 16,173 LGBTQ+ students between the ages of 13 and 21.
Out of these, 40% identified as gay or lesbian, 33% identified as bisexual, 28% identified as transgender, 22% identified as pansexual, 4% identified as queer, and 2% identified as asexual.
The 2019 National School Climate Survey found that 98.9% of LGBTQ+ students in American schools had heard the word ‘gay’ used as an insult.
It also found that 96.9% of students had heard the phrase ‘no homo’, with 95% having heard other forms of anti-gay slurs, including ones like ‘that’s so gay’.
Some of this abuse came from staff members, with over half of respondents (52%) saying they’d heard staff using anti-LGBTQ+ slurs.
Other worrying statistics from the study found that 59% of students felt unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation. Meanwhile, 37% felt unsafe because of their gender identity, and 44% felt unsafe because of their gender expression.
Due to these feelings, 45% of students reported that they avoided gender-segregated bathrooms and another 44% said that they avoided using locker rooms.
Nearly a fifth of students (17%) admitted that they had changed schools because they felt so unsafe, and a third admitted that they had missed a day of school within the past month because of feeling unsafe.
However, the most worrying statistic found that 69% had been verbally harassed because of their sexual orientation, and a further 57% because of their gender expression. Meanwhile 26% had been physically harassed, either from a push or a shove, because of their sexual orientation, with a further 11% having been physically assaulted.
Some good news for LGBTQ+ students came in the form of gay-straight alliances, with over 60% of students reporting that their schools had one. In the schools with gay-straight alliances, instances of abuse against LGBTQ+ students were lower than those without.
And nearly every student (97%) reported that they had at least one supportive teacher in their school.
Eliza Byard, the executive director of GLSEN, said: “We’ve seen significant improvement in the lives of LGBTQ students over the past twenty years, but progress has slowed. This year’s report offers a clear blueprint for how schools can step up to help LGBTQ students reach their full potential.”
And Joseph Kosciw, the director of the GLSEN Research Institute, said: “Our research over the past two decades points to clear actions that schools can take to protect students who are facing anti-LGBTQ harassment and other forms of discrimination.
“It’s time for each and every school leader to understand the barriers that LGBTQ students face and to commit to making the changes necessary to protect all students, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”