LGBT students of color face unique and diverse challenges regarding victimization at school, according to Shared Differences: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Students of Color in Our Nation's Schools, a report released today by GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.
To download the full report, click here.
Across all groups, sexual orientation and gender expression were the most common reasons LGBT students of color reported feeling unsafe in school. More than four out of five students, within each racial/ethnic group, reported verbal harassment in school because of sexual orientation and about two-thirds because of gender expression. At least a third of each group reported physical violence in school because of sexual orientation.
More than half of African American/Black, Latino/a, Asian/Pacific Islander, and multiracial students also reported verbal harassment in school based on their race or ethnicity. Native American students (43%) were less likely than other students to report experiencing racially motivated verbal harassment.
About a quarter of African American/Black and Asian/Pacific Islander students had missed class or days of school in the past month because they felt unsafe. Latino/a, Native American, and multiracial students were even more likely to be absent for for safety reasons - about a third or more skipped class at least once or missed at least one day of school in the past month for safety reasons.
Native American students experienced particularly high levels of victimization because of their religion, with more than half reporting the highest levels of verbal harassment (54%), and a quarter experiencing physical violence (26%).
Less than half of students of color who had been harassed or assaulted in school in the past year said that they ever reported the incident to school staff. Furthermore, for those students who did report incidents to school staff, less than half believed that staff’s resulting response was effective.
Native American (57%) and multiracial (50%) students were more likely than other students of color in our survey to report incidents to a family member.
Performance at school also suffered when students experienced high levels of victimization. Students’ overall GPA dropped when they reported high severities of harassment based on sexual orientation and/or race/ethnicity. Students experiencing high severities of harassment also reported missing school more often.
The report also looks at differing experiences based on the racial/ethnic make-up of students’ schools. For all groups, LGBT students of color who were minorities in their school were much more likely to feel unsafe and experience harassment because of their race or ethnicity than those who were in the racial/ethnic majority.