The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), today released the most comprehensive report ever on the experiences of LGBT students, the 2007 National School Climate Survey of 6,209 middle and high school students between the ages of 13 and 21 from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report is being released in conjunction with the news that GLSEN will partner with the Ad Council on a multiyear (3 videos so far) nationwide education campaign "ThinkB4YouSpeak" that includes public service announcements starring Hilary Duff and Wanda Sykes challenging the common misnomer of "That So Gay or Your So Gay" which was even popularized by a summer hit by Katy Perry (video below). The spots will debut later this month targeting anti-LGBT language among teenagers.
Key Findings of the 2007 National School Climate Survey include:
- Nearly 9 of 10 LGBT students (86.2%) experienced harassment at school in the past year,
- three-fifths (60.8%) felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation
- a third (32.7%) skipped a day of school in the past month because of feeling unsafe.
- 86.2% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed,
- 44.1% reported being physically harassed
- 22.1% being physically assaulted in the past year because of their sexual orientation.
- 73.6% heard derogatory remarks such as “faggot” or “dyke” frequently or often at school.
- 60.8% of students reported that they felt unsafe because of their sexual orientation,
- 38.4% felt unsafe because of their gender expression.
- 31.7% of LGBT students missed a class
- 32.7% a day of school in the past month because of feeling unsafe
- 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 (2.8 versus 2.4).
- Students in schools with a Gay-Straight Alliance reported hearing fewer homophobic remarks, experienced less harassment and assault because of their sexual orientation and gender expression, were more likely to report incidents of harassment and assault to school staff, were less likely to feel unsafe because of their sexual orientation or gender expression, were less likely to miss school because of safety concerns and reported a greater sense of belonging to their school community.
- The presence of supportive staff contributed to a range of positive indicators including fewer reports of missing school, greater academic achievement, higher educational aspirations and a greater sense of belonging to their school community.
- Students from a school with a safe school policy that included protections based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity/expression heard fewer homophobic remarks, experienced lower levels of victimization related to their sexual orientation, were more likely to report that staff intervened when hearing homophobic remarks and were more likely to report incidents of harassment and assault to school staff.
- 36.3% reported a Gay-Straight Alliance.
- 36.3% identified 6 plus supportive educators
- 18.7% attended a school that had a comprehensive safe school policy.
The survey can be downloaded (pdf 1mb) here. GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, established nationally in 1995, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. For more information, visit GLSEN.