Between puberty and peer pressure, middle and high schoolers are already drowning in stress, anxiety, and self-consciousness. LGBTQ+ youth often have the additional burden of feeling unsafe in their own homes or classrooms. Transgender students and those who identify as non-binary aren’t even able to go to the restroom without feeling vulnerable and unsafe.
If 3 out of 4 LGBTQ+ students report feeling depressed, unsafe, or worthless, how can we expect them to focus on learning?
A recent HRC study shows that inclusive school environments are a critical factor in the healthy development of queer youth. Creating an inclusive school culture starts with teaching educators and administrators to be culturally competent and proficient in addressing important social issues like prejudice and discrimination. Appropriate LGBTQ+ support at every grade level can ensure a safe environment for all students.
Simple steps like the presence of gender-neutral bathrooms and locker rooms not only provide practical safety and comfort for transgender and non-binary youth, but also destigmatize these identities and orientations, reducing the risk of bullying. The presence of “Safe School” policies that specifically address LGBTQ+ bullying has been proven effective at decreasing levels of LGBTQ+ related discrimination.
Inclusive school curricula should incorporate LGBTQ+ themes, like LGBTQ+ History Month. This inclusive teaching approach benefits not only queer youth, but also gives non-queer students an unbiased and thorough understanding of the LGBTQ+ community while learning how to promote acceptance. Additionally, schools need to provide LGBTQ+ inclusive sex education, with information on gender identity and sexual orientation.
Problems to be Solved
- checkLGBTQ+ youth often cannot concentrate in school because they don’t feel safe and included.
- By implementing policies that ensure more inclusive school environments, students can move from worrying about their safety and bullying, to spending their time and energy on their schoolwork and building a healthy future. That’s something that every student deserves.
- checkPromote inclusivity and safety for LGBTQ+ youth
- checkEncourage constructive and appropriate curricula, including sex education and inclusivity education, that recognizes acceptance and diversity
As President I will...
- Provide federal funding to school districts that implement LGBTQ+ inclusive programs including:
- School curricula that includes sex education, acceptance, and inclusivity.
- Training for educators and administrators on how to discuss LBGTQ+ issues in age-appropriate ways.
- Training for school healthcare providers in how to recognize, support, and provide medically accurate information for students who are coming out.
- Gender-neutral bathrooms.
- “Safe School” policies that allow students to anonymously report incidents of harassment and assault.