Today, more than 60 youth-serving professionals, LGBTQ youth and parents of LGBTQ youth met with nearly 100 congressional offices to lobby on issues impacting LGBTQ youth. These advocates were brought together by GLSEN, HRC, PFLAG, the Trevor Project, and the True Colors Fund from 20 states for a lobby day focusing on LGBTQ youth.
LGBTQ youth face significant challenges due to bullying, discrimination and stigma. In January, HRC Foundation released the results of a groundbreaking post-election survey of more than 50,000 young people ages 13-18 revealing the deeply damaging fallout the November election has had on youth across the U.S. The online survey, believed to be the largest ever of its kind, found that more than a quarter of LGBTQ youth have been personally bullied during the presidential campaign or in the weeks following Election Day — compared to 14 percent of non-LGBTQ youth — with transgender young people most frequently targeted.
In addition, data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last year found that LGB young people are far more likely to experience violence and bullying, and attempt suicide, than their heterosexual peers.
In order to address these disparate outcomes, the advocates on the Hill today urged their members of Congress to support:
- Anti-bullying legislation, such as the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act. The Safe Schools Improvement Act would require public K-12 schools to have enumerated anti-bullying policies including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as race, color, national origin, sex, disability and religion. The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act would require colleges and universities to have enumerated anti-harassment policies including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as race, color, national origin, sex, disability and religion.
- The Equality Act, which would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs and jury service.
- The Student Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit public schools from discriminating against any student on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
- The Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, which would officially classify conversion therapy as a fraudulent practice and direct the Federal Trade Commission to protect consumers from these harmful practices.
- Funding critical programs for LGBTQ youth, including programs addressing youth homelessness, HIV, sex education and civil rights enforcement.