LGBTQ+ topics rarely discussed in schools, new study finds

Despite what some conservatives would claim, the vast majority of American students are not exposed to topics about LGBTQ+ issues in school.

Not only is this lack of representation unnecessary, but it also harms LGBTQ+ students in general. Additionally, a significant decrease in support for LGBTQ+ students is evident, according to the 2021 School Climate Survey published by GLSEN Tuesday.

Across the country, LGBTQ+ students face daily hostility, bullying, victimization, and discrimination, according to research. As a result, many avoid participating in school activities or skip school altogether.

Almost all LGBTQ+ students (97%) hear the word “gay” used negatively at school. Additionally, just over 83% of LGBTQ+ students heard negative remarks specifically about transgender people.

The survey also found that most LGBTQ+ students who attended school in person – about 83% – experienced harassment or assault due to personal characteristics in the 2021-2022 school year. .

LGBTQ+ students reported being discriminated against at school because of their sexual orientation or gender identity in about 60% of cases. The gender of LGBTQ+ students has been identified as a target of discriminatory policies and practices, limiting their options and negatively affecting their school experiences, according to the survey.

The survey results reinforce the reality that the LGBTQ+ community and public school teachers are not indoctrinating students across the country into a radical liberal sexualized curriculum.

Conservative influencers, media personalities and lawmakers have spent months fearmongering and breathlessly warning parents about LGBTQ+ people picking up their children.

There was no LGBTQ-related education for 76.6% of LGBTQ+ students in their schools, the report said. About 16% of LGBTQ+ students learned about positive portrayals of LGBTQ+ people and events; 14.4% learned from negative material. Compared to students who attended school only in person, students who attended school online, both hybrid and fully online, were more likely to say that LGBTQ+ topics were discussed in a positive way.

More than seven percent of LGBTQ+ students received LGBTQ+ affirming sex education, including positive portrayals of LGBTQ+ topics and lesbiangay, bisexual, non-binary and transgender. Additionally, compared to students who only attended school in person, students who only attended online or hybrid learning environments were more likely to receive any type of sex education, including LGBTQ+ inclusive sex education. , according to the survey.

Importantly, the survey results belie the conservative claim that inappropriate books — which they believe include LGBTQ-related books — are being forced upon students.

Less than 1%, or 0.4% to be exact, of LGBTQ+ students said topics on LGBTQ+ issues were included in many of their textbooks or assigned readings.

Only one-fifth of LGBTQ+ students said textbooks or other assigned reading included LGBTQ issues. About 43% of these students said they found information on LGBTQ-related topics in their school library.

The study results indicate that LGBTQ+ students who experience discrimination and victimization at school have poorer academic and psychological outcomes.

Those who experienced anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination in school missed school three times more often than others, and their GPAs were lower than those whose peers did not, the report said. Students were also more likely to be disciplined at school and to be depressed, and to have low self-esteem.

In contrast, the survey reports that a safer and more supportive school environment contributes to better academic outcomes for LGBTQ+ students. Additionally, resources related to LGBTQ+ education enhance the overall school experience for LGBTQ+ students. However, the authors note that “unfortunately, too many schools are not providing these essential resources.”

GLSEN Research Institute Director Joseph Kosciw said in a press release that there is significant cause for concern.

“The 2021 National School Climate Survey finds that LGBTQ+ students experience unacceptable rates of bullying and discrimination in the classroom, impacting their mental health, self-esteem and academic aspirations,” said said Kosciw. “But our research also indicates how schools can better support LGBTQ+ students: evidence shows that policies that are inclusive, [gay student aliances]and support educators play a vital role in creating supportive educational environments where all students can thrive. »

After finding that more than half of LGBTQ+ students experienced discrimination at school, the authors found that most forms of discrimination against LGBTQ+ students decreased from previous years in 2019. However, discrimination against LGBTQ+ students increased in 2021, including restrictions on nouns and pronouns, clothing that is gender-based, clothing that supports LGBTQ+ issues, school dances, and generally disciplined self-identification as LGBTQ+, according to the survey.

Norma A. Roth