Think GLBT harassment isn’t a problem at your school? Think again. Nearly nine out of 10 GLBT students reported experiencing harassment on campus, while two-thirds reported feeling unsafe because of their sexual orientation, according to “The 2009 National School Climate Survey” by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.
The suicide rate of GLBT continues to be three to four times higher than that of their straight counterparts. In some parts of the country, GLBT runaways may comprise up to 40 percent of the entire teen homeless population.
Key findings of GLSEN’s most recent survey of 7.621 middle and high-school age students include:
- Because of their sexual orientation, 84.6 percent of GLBT students reported being verbally harassed, 40.1 percent reported being physically harassed, and 18.8 percent reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year.
- Because of their gender expression, 63.7 percent of GLBT students reported being verbally harassed, 27.2 percent reported being physically harassed and 12.5 percent reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year.
- 72.4 percent heard homophobic remarks, such as “faggot” or “dyke,” frequently or often at school. > Nearly two-thirds (61.1 percent) of GLBT students reported that they felt unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation, and more than a third (39.9 percent) felt unsafe because of their gender expression.
- 29.1 percent of GLBT students reported missing a class at least once and 30.0 percent reported missing at least one day of school in the past month because of safety concerns, compared with only 8.0 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively, of a national sample of secondary school students.
- The reported grade point average of students who were more frequently harassed because of their sexual orientation or gender expression was almost half a grade lower than for students who were less often harassed (2.7 compared with 3.1).
- Increased levels of victimization were related to increased levels of depression and anxiety and decreased levels of self-esteem.
- Being out in school had positive and negative repercussions for GLBT students. Coming out at school was related to higher levels of victimization, but also higher levels of psychological well-being.
Source: “The 2009 National School Climate Survey” by GLSEN