Monday, April 6, 2009

GLSEN Report on Kids -- with Gay Parents! -- in Schools

The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) has recently released the first comprehensive study on LGBT families' experiences in K-12 education. It's an amazing report, especially if you're one of the estimated 7 million LGBT parents with a school-age kid.

The name of the report is Involved, Invisible, Ignored: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Parents and Their Children in Our Nation’s K-12 Schools.

(ENC has a bunch of free copies available, and you can also get a free PDF of it online.)

There's a lot of fascinating data, but here are some highlights:
  • LGBT parents are much more likely to be involved in their kids education than parents in general.
  • More than half of the LGBT parents felt excluded in one way or another from their school community.
  • A quarter of the students experienced harassment because their parents are LGBT.
  • A fifth of the students had been discouraged by school personnel from talking about their family, and more than a quarter of them had heard school personnel make anyigay comments.
  • Most interestingly - and cogent - of all: The schools that had the most inclusive environment and lowest levels of harassment? The ones with an anti-bullying policy that explicitly prohibited bullying based on real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.
If you haven't seen this report, it's worth taking a look. More importantly, if you haven't signed on to our efforts to pass the School Violence Protection Act, either by filling out a postcard or talking to your legislators or talking to your family, please do so. (You can contact us to get copies of the postcards, as well as get talking points and guidance on visiting your state legislators.) And check out our antibullying blog.

Family and school are two of the most basic components of our children's lives. The key to stopping prejudice is education, but we cannot have that if we allow the roots of bigotry to survive in the schools themselves.

And it's especially important when we're talking about our children.

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