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AZ State Snapshot released

ARIZONA (January 9, 2019) – GLSEN today released state-level data from its benchmark National School Climate Survey, which demonstrate that Arizona/ schools were not safe for most lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) middle and high school students. In addition, many LGBTQ students in Arizona did not have access to important school resources, such as an LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum, and were not protected by supportive and inclusive school policies.

GLSEN’s biennial National School Climate Survey, begun in 1999, is the only survey of its kind, documenting the experiences of LGBTQ youth in schools, including the extent of the challenges that they face and their access to the school-based resources that support their educational success and well-being. The survey has consistently demonstrated that specific school-based supports are related to a safer and more inclusive school climate, including supportive educators, LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum, comprehensive and affirming policies, and student clubs, such as Gay-Straight Alliances or Gender and Sexuality Alliances (GSAs).

The release of today’s state-specific data allows advocates, educators, administrators, and policymakers, among others, to evaluate school climate in their state. For Arizona specifically, the report found:

The vast majority of LGBTQ students in Arizona regularly heard anti-LGBTQ remarks.

  • 79% of LGBTQ students reported regularly hearing homophobic remarks in school, and 70% reported regularly hearing negative remarks about transgender people.
  • Some students also regularly heard school staff make homophobic remarks (19%) and many regularly heard school staff make negative remarks about someone’s gender expression (40%).

Most LGBTQ students in Arizona experienced bias-based victimization at school.

  • 71% of LGBTQ students experienced verbal harassment at school based on sexual orientation, and 61% experienced verbal harassment at school based on gender expression.
  • Most LGBTQ students never reported incidents of school victimization to school staff (58%) and only 32% of those who reported incidents said it resulted in effective staff intervention.
  • LGBTQ students reported that they also experienced victimization at school based on disability (29%), race/ethnicity (34%), and religion (26%).

Most LGBTQ students in Arizona reported discriminatory policies and/or practices at their school.

  • Nearly two-thirds of students (63%) experienced at least one form of anti-LGBTQ discrimination at school during the past year.
  • Nearly 1 in 3 LGBTQ students (31%) in Arizona were disciplined for public displays of affection (PDA) that did not result in similar action for non-LGBTQ students.
  • Over 3 in 5 transgender students (63%) were unable to use the school restroom aligned with their gender, and over 3 in 5 transgender students (63%) were prevented from using their chosen name or pronouns in school.
  • Some LGBTQ students reported being unable to wear LGBTQ-supportive apparel (16%), being unable to form a GSA (16%), and being unable to bring a same-gender date to a school dance (10%).

Many LGBTQ students in Arizona did not have access to in-school resources and supports.

  • Only 7% of LGBTQ students attended a school with a comprehensive anti-bullying/harassment policy that included specific protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.
  • Only 5% reported that their school had a policy or official guidelines to support transgender or gender nonconforming students.
  • Fewer than 1 in 5 (17%) were taught an inclusive curriculum that had positive representations of LGBTQ people, history, or events.
  • Only 4% reported receiving LGBTQ-inclusive sex education at school.
  • 54% of students reported having a GSA or similar supportive club in their school.

“This research makes clear that many LGBTQ students in Arizona are facing hostile environments that lack many of the resources that make their schools safe spaces for them to attend,” said Ricardo Martinez, Co-Chair from GLSEN Phoenix. “Leaders throughout the state of Arizona must prioritize the safety and well-being of all students by supporting comprehensive policies and practices, like GLSEN Phoenix’s support of GSA student clubs and Educator Training, that are proven successful in creating inclusive and affirming schools for LGBTQ students.”

“All people deserve to see themselves reflected in their school environments and this research shows that Arizona schools have a long way to go to become inclusive of LGBTQ student’s lives and experiences,” said Isaac Inguiez, Co-Chair from GLSEN Yuma. “Schools in Arizona must work to change this by supporting student-led GSA clubs, providing professional development that helps educators prevent harassment and bullying, creating and implementing policies that protect LGBTQ students and increase access to curriculum that accurately and affirmingly depicts LGBTQ people, history, and events.”

Comprehensive state snapshots for 41 states and Puerto Rico with additional data can be found at www.glsen.org/statesnapshots. To access national-level infographics, an executive summary and the full GLSEN National School Climate Survey report, visit www.glsen.org/nscs.