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Social pressures are part of the school experience of many students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
But the experience can be particularly difficult for LGBT students, who often struggle to make sense of their identities, lack support from family and friends, and encounter negative messaging about LGBT people at school and in their community.
bullying and harassment, exclusion from school curricula and resources, restrictions on LGBT student groups, and other forms of discrimination and bigotry against students and staff based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
While not exhaustive, these broad issues offer a starting point for policymakers and administrators to ensure that LGBT people’s rights are respected and protected in schools.
As transgender and gender non-conforming students have become more visible, too, many states and school districts have ignored their needs and failed to ensure they enjoy the same academic and extracurricular benefits as their non-transgender peers.
This undermines a number of fundamental human rights, including LGBT students’ rights to education, personal security, freedom from discrimination, access to information, free expression, association and privacy.
In Alabama, Texas, Utah, and five other US states, antiquated states laws restrict discussions of homosexuality in schools.
As this report documents, however, these clubs continue to encounter obstacles from some school administrators that make it difficult for them to form and operate.
When GSAs were allowed to form, some students said they were subject to more stringent requirements than other clubs, were left out of school-wide activities, or had their advertising defaced or destroyed.
Such restrictions make it difficult or impossible for LGBT youth to get information about health and well-being on the same terms as heterosexual peers.
The effects of these laws are not only limited to health or sexuality education classes.
As students and teachers describe in this report, they also chilled discussions of LGBT topics and themes in history, government, psychology, and English classes.