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Education

Every student, from kindergarten to college and beyond, deserves a fair chance to succeed in school and prepare for their future—including students who are LGBTQ. Every student should also be treated fairly and equally under the law, and protecting LGBTQ students helps ensure that they have the same opportunity as their classmates to fully participate in school and be prepared to succeed throughout their lives.  

Upon entering the education system, bullying, harassment and violence together create significant barriers to educational access and success for LGBTQ students. Key education-related challenges facing LGBTQ youth include the lack of nondiscrimination protections in education, the lack of prohibitions on bullying in many states, the presence of explicitly anti-LGBTQ laws in school settings, and religious exemptions and a lack of clarity in federal law about the level of protections for LGBTQ students at all levels. Given the importance of access to education for long-term economic security, the experiences of LGBTQ youth in schools is especially troubling.   

Students at every level should be able to learn and thrive in a safe school environment. Our schools, colleges, and wherever people seek education, should strive to protect all students from bullying, discrimination, and mistreatment. 

Related Resources

MAP

TITLE IX STATE LAWS

This map shows the federal appeals courts that have ruled that federal law prohibits discrimination based on gender identity, as well as those that have ruled it does not.

MAP

Anti-Bullying State Laws

This map shows state anti-bullying laws that explicitly enumerate sexual orientation and/or gender identity as protected characteristics, as well as states that explicitly interpret existing prohibitions against sex discrimination to include discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

MAP

School Non-Discrimination State Laws

This map shows state school nondiscrimination laws that explicitly enumerate sexual orientation and/or gender identity as protected characteristics, as well as states that explicitly interpret existing prohibitions against sex discrimination to include discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

MAP

Anti-LGBT Curriculum State Laws

This map shows state "Don't Say Gay" laws that restrict teachers and staff from talking about LGBT issues and people, as well as anti-LGBT school laws that prohibit enumeration of sexual orientation or gender identity in school anti-bullying and anti-discrimination policies.

Brief

Title IX, Religious Exemptions and Campus Climate: LGBT Protections in Higher Education

October 2018 - MAP's latest brief shows how the expansion of the ability of colleges and universities to claim a religious exemption to federal nondiscrimination laws can have a profoundly negative impact on LGBTQ students. These risks include threats of expulsion, increased disciplinary action simply for being LGBT, being denied participation in extracurricular activities, or forced into conversion therapy or counseling.

Infographic

Infographic: Transgender Students and Title IX

February 2018 - Every student deserves a fair chance to succeed in school and prepare for their future—including students who are transgender. This two page infographic offers an explanation of why Title IX of the Civil Rights Act is so important for transgender students and reviews the legal landscape.

New Brief

Transgender Youth in Schools

September 2018 - Released as part of the new Safe Schools Movement, this infographic brief from MAP, GLSEN and NCTE highlights the experience of transgender students in school and the laws and policies still needed to ensure transgender students can fully participate in school.

New Ad

Hallway

September 2018 - “Hallway," the new PSA produced by MAP and released in partnership with GLSEN, depicts the harassment transgender students often face when they need to use the restroom at school—and how school administrators and supportive students alike can help. "Hallway," was released as part of the new Safe Schools Movement campaign to encourage parents, educators, youth, and policymakers to advocate for safe schools for LGBTQ youth.

Report

Separation and Stigma: Transgender Youth & School Facilities

April 2017 - This report examines the harmful and unnecessary policies that exclude transgender students from accessing appropriate school facilities. Despite the success of inclusive policies across the country, seventeen states have introduced legislation designed to ensure transgender students are relegated to facilities that align with the sex on their birth certificate, rather than their gender identity.

Guide

Talking About Transgender Students & School Facilities Access

January 2017 - As part of ongoing efforts to protect transgender people from discrimination, there is growing momentum to ensure that transgender students have a fair chance at educational success. This guide provides high-level messaging to help build support for policies and laws that protect transgender students and their ability to access school facilities that match their gender identity.

Report

Unjust: How the Broken Criminal Justice System Fails LGBTQ Youth

August 2016 - This companion report examines how as many as 3.2 million LGBTQ youth are vulnerable to discrimination, profiling, and mistreatment in the juvenile and criminal justice systems. The report also documents the rampant mistreatment and abuse that LGBTQ young people face in court proceedings, detention and re-entry.

Report

Paying an Unfair Price: The Financial Penalty for LGBT People of Color

April 2015 - Systemic failures to protect some students, recognize diverse families, and protect against discrimination create a devastating cycle of poverty for America’s 3 million LGBT people of color. Learn about the economic insecurity faced by LGBT people of color.

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Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.