Violence and discrimination against LGBT students is the rule—not the exception in American schools. It is a national disgrace that students feel threatened in school simply because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. While Americans need to know that thousands of students each day go to school or college and endure LGBT violence and harassment; they must also know that GSAs are a tool in helping end violence and that these student groups save lives.
According to national statistics provided by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN):
- More than 85 percent of LGBT students have been verbally harassed;
- Nearly 20 percent of LGBT students were physically assaulted by their peers at school;
- Almost 40 percent of LGBT students reported that faculty and staff never intervene when homophobic language is used in their presence;
- Nearly 30 percent of LGBT students reported missing at least one entire school day because they felt unsafe.
According to statistics provided by Iowa Pride Network, students in schools WITH GSAs are:
- 25% are less likely to be verbally harassed because of their gender
- 23% less likely to skip class and 15% are less likely to not attend school because of feeling uncomfortable or unsafe
- 23% less likely to be physically assaulted because of their sexual orientation
- 21% more likely to report never having been sexually harassed at school
- 12% less likely to be physically harassed or assaulted because of their gender expression
- 10% less likely to be verbally or physically harassed because of their sexual orientation or gender expression and 10% more likely to report never being cyber-bullied because of their sexual orientation or gender expressio
A GSA student organization’s purpose is to create safer learning environments for all students. GSAs are important in reducing violence and homophobia in our schools, colleges and communities. As statistics above show, GSAs are clearly needed now more than ever.