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Arizona State Snapshot

Media Contacts:
Ricardo Martinez
GLSEN Phoenix

Benjamin Lebovitz
GLSEN Tucson
(520) 276-8891

Arizona Schools Remain Hostile for Many LGBTQ Secondary Students, GLSEN Report Finds
GLSEN’s Biennial National School Climate Survey Shows Students Still Lack School-Based Supports, Despite Positive Effect on School Climate for LGBTQ Students

ARIZONA (January 11, 2017) – GLSEN today released state-level data from its benchmark National School Climate Survey, which shows that U.S. secondary schools are slowly improving but remain hostile environments for many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students.

The biennial survey, which began in 1999, found that harassment and discrimination negatively affect LGBTQ students’ educational outcomes and mental health. The research also confirmed that lower levels of harassment and better educational outcomes are related to the presence of school-based supports: LGBTQ-inclusive anti-bullying policies, LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum, supportive educators and Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs).

For Arizona specifically, the report found:

• The vast majority of LGBTQ students in Arizona regularly heard anti-LGBT remarks. Many also regularly heard school staff make homophobic remarks (14 percent) and negative remarks about someone’s gender expression (30 percent).
• Most LGBTQ students in Arizona had been victimized at school. Of those, most never reported the incident to school staff (56 percent). Only 31 percent of those students who reported incidents said it resulted in effective staff intervention.
• Many LGBTQ students in Arizona reported discriminatory policies or practices at their school. More than half (54 percent) experienced at least one form of discrimination at school during the past year. In Arizona, three in five transgender students (58 percent) were unable to use the school restroom that aligned with their gender identity.
• Many LGBTQ students in Arizona did not have access to in-school resources and supports. Fewer than one in 10 (7 percent) attended a school with a comprehensive anti-bullying/harassment policy; only 21 percent had access to an LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum; 62 percent could identify six or more supportive school staff; and only 40 percent had access to a GSA or similar student club.

“The results of this survey mirror the stories we hear far too often from some of the 1,300 LGBTQ middle and high school students we support in Greater Phoenix,” said Ricardo Martinez, Chair of GLSEN Phoenix. “Schools are still hostile environments for so many of these students, and now more than ever they need our support.”
"We have so much work to do, but we have seen what works in Southern Arizona to improve school climates for LGBTQ students: supportive educators, anti-bullying policies that specifically protect LGBTQ students, inclusive student clubs and school curriculum that positively reflects LGBTQ topics,” said Benjamin Lebovitz, Chair of GLSEN Tucson.

State snapshots for 30 states can be found at To access infographics, an executive summary and the complete GLSEN National School Climate Survey report, visit

GLSEN champions safe and affirming schools for all students. We envision a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Each year, GLSEN programs and resources reach tens of thousands of K-12 schools across the United States, and our network of chapters brings GLSEN’s expertise to their local communities. GLSEN's progress and impact have won support for our work at all levels of education in the United States and sparked an international movement to ensure equality for LGBTQ students and respect for all in schools. For more information on GLSEN’s policy advocacy, student leadership initiatives, public education, research and educator training programs, please visit