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Nearly 9 in 10 gay students are harassed at school

Published September 14, 2010 3:49 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Last year, 85 percent of gay and transgender students in middle and high school experienced harassment at school, according to a survey released Tuesday morning by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).

GLSEN surveyed 7,621 LGBT students, including some in Utah.

Nearly a third of those surveyed reported they had skipped class at least once because they felt unsafe at school.

GLSEN has been publishing the National School Climate Survey since 1999. Over the past decade, the frequency with which LGBT students hear homophobic remarks has declined, but their experiences with more severe forms of bullying and harassment has stayed about the same.

"It could not be clearer that there is an urgent need for action to create safe and affirming schools for LGBT students," GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard said in a statement. "As our nation seems to finally be taking bullying more seriously, it is crucial that LGBT students are no longer left out of efforts to address this public health crisis."

GLSEN supports the creation of Gay-Straight Alliance clubs in schools to promote safety and tolerance for LGBT students. The group also advocates for anti-bullying policies that ban harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

In 2008, Utah created a state law that requires schools to have anti-bullying policies but it does not specifically address bullying against LGBT students.