GLSEN, a US national LGBT+ education advocacy group completed a research study recently and found that an astounding near 97% of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender students aged between 13 and 21 reported hearing disparaging comments about their sexuality or gender identity while at school. The GLSEN report, which surveyed students in all 50 U.S. states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and Guam, found homophobia was rife within educational establishments.
Almost 97% of respondents stated that they had heard the phrase “no homo” at school, while more than 95% reported hearing homophobic terms such as “dyke” and “faggot”. About 69% said they had experienced verbal harassment because of their sexual orientation, while just under 57% said they had also been called names or threatened because of their gender expression. Just under 10% reported the same experiences due to their gender expression, it added. Comments such as “that’s so gay” and “no homo” are regularly stated on playgrounds, in the cafeterias, and around school campuses. Almost 92% said the remarks had made them feel “distressed”, said the 2019 National School Climate Survey, which surveyed 16,700 LGBT+ students between April and August last year. 11% of LGBT+ students said they had been physically assaulted, or “punched, kicked (or) injured with a weapon” because of their sexuality, the report noted.
Aiden Cloud, a 17-year-old student who identifies as genderqueer and attends at a small, conservative private school in Nashville, Tennessee stated, “At my school, it’s very taboo for teachers especially to talk about LGBT issues. Even though there are a lot of queer students at my school – just as there are at any school – there’s a very big lack of visibility. It feels very isolating.”
“This is a very significant wake-up call about how the progress we’ve won is directly under attack,” said Eliza Byard, the executive director of GLSEN, formerly the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network.