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2017 National School Climate Survey

New Data Shows Progress on Safe Schools for LGBTQ Youth Slows for First Time in Years

Cover image of the GLSEN 2017 National School Climate Survey

The GLSEN National School Climate Survey is our flagship report on the school experiences of LGBTQ youth in schools, including the extent of the challenges that they face at school and the school-based resources that support LGBTQ students’ well-being. The survey has consistently indicated that specific school-based supports are related to a safer and more inclusive school climate, including: supportive educators, LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum, inclusive and supportive policies, and supportive student clubs, such as Gay-Straight Alliances or Gender and Sexuality Alliances (GSAs).

The full GLSEN 2017 National School Climate Survey report includes information on LGBTQ middle and high school students' experiences, including:

  • Hearing biased language, from both students and educators
  • Experiences of harassment and assault
  • Anti-LGBTQ discrimination
  • Effects of a hostile school climate on educational outcomes and psychological well-being
  • The availability and utility of supportive school resources

This report also examines demographic and school differences in students’ experiences, as well as changes in school climate over time. In addition, for the first time, this installment of GLSEN’s National School Climate Survey also includes insights on LGBTQ-inclusive sex education, student activism, parent advocacy, experiences of LGBTQ students with disabilities, and experiences of LGBTQ immigrant students.

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Key Changes Overtime

In 2017, we didn’t see the same progress in reducing levels of victimization experienced by LGBTQ youth, or increased access to some key school supports we know improve mental health and educational outcomes for LGBTQ youth, as we had seen in recent years. The following two graphs show, respectively, the changes over time in the frequency of school victimization based on sexual orientation and gender expression, and the availability of LGBTQ-related school resources over time.

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A graph showing the availability of LGBTQ inclusive school resources over time, from GLSEN's 2017 National School Climate Survey.

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Downloadable Posters

We have identified several critical topics from the new National School Climate Survey we are highlighting in a series of one-page printable infographic posters (8.5 x 11 inches). These three infographics provide easily accessible data to further the movement to ensure safe and inclusive schools for LGBTQ youth and can be can be printed and displayed in your classroom or office, shared when tabling at events, or used in meetings with policymakers and school officials. 

Schools Can Be the Difference for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Youth

Thumbnail image of Trans & GNC youth infographic poster

Inclusive Curriculum Helps LGBTQ Youth

Thumbnail of Inclusive Curriculum supports LGBTQ Youth infographic poster

LGBTQ Student Leaders are Changing the World, and are Better Off For It

Thumbnail of LGBTQ Youth are Changing the World infographic poster

About the National School Climate Survey

The 2017 National School Climate Survey was conducted online from April through August 2017. To obtain a representative national sample of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth, outreach was conducted through national, regional, and local organizations that provide services to or advocate on behalf of LGBTQ youth, and advertised and promoted on social networking sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr. To ensure representation of transgender youth, youth of color, and youth in rural communities, special efforts were made to notify groups and organizations that work predominantly with these populations.

The final sample consisted of a total of 23,001 students between the ages of 13 and 21. Students were from all 50 states and the District of Columbia and 5 U.S. territories: American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Peurto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. About two-thirds of the sample (67.5%) was White, a third (34.1%) was cisgender female, and 4 in 10 identified as gay or lesbian (41.6%). The average age of students in the sample was 15.6 years and they were in grades 6 to 12, with the largest numbers in grades 9, 10, and 11.

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If you have further questions, please contact the GLSEN Research team at GLSENresearch@glsen.org

 

See the previous reports: 

Puerto Rico (pg) 2015(pg)  2013(pdf)  2011(pdf)  2009(pdf)  2007(pdf)  2005(pdf)  2003(pdf)  2001(pdf)