“When students feel safe and valued, they’re better able to focus on their studies, engage with their classmates, and develop confidence within themselves and others, but LGBTQ+ student safety can’t be taken for granted,” said Kristy Self, a teacher in Oklahoma and a member of GLSEN’s National Educator Advisory Committee, in a statement. “As an educator, it’s my job to teach my students about how to build respect in the classroom and in the community. It takes all of us from the principals to the school bus drivers to create an inclusive learning environment for our LGBTQ+ students.”
READ MORE LGBTQ+ STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA
HOW THE CORONAVIRUS PRESENTS A UNIQUE THREAT TO THE LGBT+ COMMUNITY
IDAHO’S CONTROVERSIAL NEW TRANS RIGHTS BILLS FACE LEGAL CHALLENGES
ANTI-GAY GOP LAWMAKER VOTED AGAINST CORONAVIRUS BILL BECAUSE IT ‘REDEFINED FAMILY’
SOUTH CAROLINA COURT STRIKES DOWN LAW BANNING LGTBQ+ SEX ED
Despite societal progress in recent decades, schools remain hostile places for LGBTQ+ students, who still report hearing homophobic comments like “that’s so gay” and “no homo.” Last July, a national survey revealed that 40 percent of LGBTQ+ youth and more than half of transgender respondents had seriously considered suicide in the last year. The coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated existing inequities, leaving many students without the safe spaces and resources available in schools as hate crimes are on the rise.
“I’m sick of hearing homophobic and transphobic insults at school. LGBTQ+ students deserve to take pride in our own identities, not have other people label us with cruel and outdated language,” said Nic Oke, a high school student in Maryland and a member of GLSEN’s National Student Council, in a statement. “No Name-Calling Week is about giving LGBTQ+ students a chance to feel respected and safe at school, just like anyone else.”
America is changing faster than ever! Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feed to stay on top of the news.
In addition to virtual event programming, GLSEN offers anti-bullying resources and lesson plans to help educators and students both raise awareness and empower LGBTQ+ students. Research shows that bullying not only affects the health of victims but also perpetrators and bystanders, putting all students at risk.
“We know that name-calling takes a heavy toll on LGBTQ+ youth, and students who face harassment and bullying are more likely to miss school because they feel unsafe,” said Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, Deputy Executive Director of GLSEN. “Ending name-calling is a critical step toward building inclusive school communities where all young people can thrive, without fear for their well-being, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, race or disability.”
READ MORE LIKE THIS FROM CHANGING AMERICA
BILL NYE TAKES ON TIK TOK AND THE SCIENCE OF SKIN COLOR
CHEF GOES FROM HAUTE CUISINE TO CREATING AFFORDABLE, NUTRITIOUS SCHOOL LUNCHES
CAN CLEANER AIR BOOST ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE?
A NEW LESSON FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS: HOW TO DEAL WITH SEIZURES
MORE STUDENTS ARE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS THAN EVER BEFORE