Welcome to "Is This the Right School For Us?", GLSEN's guide for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) parents of school-age children. We created this resource with the knowledge that every parent wants the same things in their child's school: good teachers who inspire their students, caring and effective administrators, a clean and well-equipped environment, and an atmosphere that is safe and conducive to learning. LGBT parents, though, have special concerns in addition to these: Will our family be accepted? Will my child be safe, or subjected to
teasing and harassment? Is this a safe place where our child will feel like they belong and be able to focus on learning?
The number of children being raised by LGBT parents is substantial; the estimates range from a conservative 1.6 million to an amazing 14 million.1 Understandably, finding safe, supportive schools, as well as working towards change in less-than-ideal schools, has become an issue of great importance to LGBT families. The purpose of this guide is to help you judge whether or not a school will be a good place for your family. It is geared towards parents with children in kindergarten through sixth grade, but is relevant to LGBT parents of all school-age children. If you're already in a school that you like, or you don't have a choice regarding school, don't put this resource down! You may be able to use the information here to help you think about ways to improve the school you're already attending.
You might have the good fortune of living in an area where there is a strong and active LGBT community, and where the population in general tends to be more open and accepting of LGBT families. Or, like many people across the country, you might feel isolated in an area where intolerance is the norm, and where being "out" in a school community could mean difficulties for your child, fearing for your family's comfort and safety, or possibly even losing a job or a home.
This guide seeks to empower all LGBT parents, whatever your situation, while recognizing that the climate in
certain communities can pose some particularly difficult challenges as you try to assess schools while protecting yourself and your family. You might find that you are not yet ready or able to address issues such as inclusion of LGBT resources in a school library, or staff training on LGBT issues, as you search for a school. However, you may be able to use parts of this guide to gauge the climate of a school without putting yourself at risk, and to
create strong relationships with teachers and administrators, which might help prevent problems in the future and provide an opening for positive change.
Best of luck to you as you search for the school where your child will flourish and your family will be valued and embraced!
Download a copy of this guide in the 'Related Documents' folder to the right of this article.