History of human rights Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is designed to protect the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.
Share LGBT Experiences in School 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.
As a result of these factors, LGBT students are more likely than heterosexual peers to suffer abuse. In some districts, this silence was exacerbated by state law. In Alabama, Texas, Utah, and five other US states, antiquated states laws restrict discussions of homosexuality in schools.
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.
As students and teachers describe in this report, they also chilled discussions of LGBT topics and themes in history, government, psychology, and English classes.
Many LGBT youth have organized gay-straight alliances GSAswhich can serve as important resources for students and as supportive spaces to counteract bullying and institutional silence about issues of importance to them.
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.
In the absence of employment protections, many LGBT teachers said they feared backlash from parents or adverse employment consequences if they were open about their sexual orientation or gender identity. Expand Share Discrimination and bigotry against transgender students took various forms, including restricting bathroom and locker room access, limiting participation in extracurricular activities, and curtailing other forms of expression—for example, dressing for the school day or special events like homecoming.
LGBT students also described persistent patterns of isolation, exclusion, and marginalization that made them feel unsafe or unwelcome at school. Students described how hearing slurs, lacking resources relevant to their experience, being discouraged from having same-sex relationships, and being regularly misgendered made the school a hostile environment, which in turn can impact health and well-being.
States should repeal outdated and stigmatizing laws that deter and arguably prohibit discussion of LGBT issues in schools, and enact laws protecting students and staff from bullying and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Schools should ensure that policies, curricula, and resources explicitly include LGBT people, and that the school environment is responsive to the specific needs of LGBT youth.
Teachers and administrators should work to make existing policies meaningful by enforcing protections and intervening when bullying or discrimination occurs. Key Recommendations To State Legislatures Ensure that state laws against bullying and harassment include enumerated protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity; Ensure that state non-discrimination laws include explicit protections from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, particularly in education, employment, and public accommodations; Repeal laws that preclude local school districts from providing enumerated protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity; Repeal laws that prohibit or restrict discussion of LGBT issues in schools.
To State Departments of Education Ensure that teachers, counselors, and other staff receive training to familiarize them with the issues LGBT students might face; Promulgate model guidelines for school districts to follow to make schools safe and inclusive for LGBT youth.
To School Administrators Ensure that school policies against bullying and harassment include enumerated protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity; Ensure that the school provide comprehensive sexuality education that is inclusive of LGBT youth, covers same-sex activity on equal footing with other sexual activity, and is medically and scientifically accurate; Ensure that GSAs and other LGBT student organizations are permitted to form and operate on the same terms as all other student organizations; Ensure that same-sex couples are able to date, display affection, and attend dances and other school functions on the same terms as all other student couples; Ensure that students are able to access facilities, express themselves, and participate in classes, sports teams, and extracurricular activities in accordance with their gender identity.
To the US Congress Enact the Equality Act or similar legislation to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, education, federal funding, and public accommodations; Enact the Student Non-Discrimination Act or similar legislation to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools; Enact the Safe Schools Improvement Act or similar legislation to encourage states to enact strong policies to prevent bullying and harassment that are inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity; Enact the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act or similar legislation to support comprehensive sexuality education and restrict funding to health education programs that are medically inaccurate, scientifically ineffective, or unresponsive to the needs of LGBT youth.
The sites were chosen as a regionally diverse sample of states that, at time of writing, lacked enumerated statewide protections against bullying and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools.
Human Rights Watch contacted potential interviewees through nongovernmental organizations, LGBT organizations in high schools and middle schools, and LGBT organizations in post-secondary institutions where recent graduates reflected on their high school experiences.
The research focused on public schools, including public charter schools, rather than private schools that enjoy greater autonomy to act in accordance with their particular beliefs under US law.
All interviews were conducted in English.
No compensation was paid to interviewees. Whenever possible, interviews were conducted one-on-one in a private setting. Researchers also spoke with interviewees in pairs, trios, or small groups when students asked to meet together or when time and space constraints required meeting with members of student organizations simultaneously.
Researchers obtained oral informed consent from interviewees, and notified interviewees why Human Rights Watch was conducting the research and how it would use their accounts, that they did not need to answer any questions they preferred not to answer, and that they could stop the interview at any time.
When students were interviewed in groups, those who were present but did not actively participate and volunteer information were not recorded or counted in our final pool of interviewees.V. Discrimination and Bigotry.
Many LGBT students, teachers, and staff face overt discrimination and acts of bigotry because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The concerns include bullying and harassment, exclusion of LGBT topics from school curricula and resources, restrictions on LGBT student groups, and discrimination and bigotry from both classmates.
This activity inspires students to think about their own areas of bigotry, to identify how we develop our attitudes about others, and empowers them to take action to reduce bigotry in their own lives and in society. activities social justice lesson plans racism discrimination bigotry bias justice equality human rights Martin Luther King Jr.
This activity inspires students to think about their own areas of bigotry, to identify how we develop our attitudes about others, and empowers them to take action to reduce bigotry . Many schools across the US remain hostile environments for LGBT students. United States: LGBT Students Face Discrimination.
and discrimination and bigotry from both classmates and school. Discrimination against atheists, Compulsory religious instruction in Turkish schools is also considered discriminatory towards atheists, who may not want their children to receive any religious education.
Atheists and agnostics are also not counted in the official census of the country.