- 87% of rural LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 45% reported being physically harassed and 22% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation.
- 68% of rural LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 31% reported being physically harassed and 16% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their gender expression.
- Rural LGBT students who experienced higher levels of victimization were less likely to plan to attend college than students who experienced lower levels of victimization (85% vs 93%).
- 27% of rural students reported having a GSA at school, compared to 55% of suburban students and 53% of urban students. But when there was a GSA at school, rural students were more likely to attend than urban and suburban students.
- Rural LGBT students reported feeling less safe than students in suburban and urban areas and rural students living in the South and Midwest were more likely to feel unsafe based on sexual orientation than were students in rural areas of the Northeast or West.
- Rural LGBT students were more likely to feel unsafe at school due to their sexual orientation (71% vs. 62% of suburban and 58% of urban school students) and gender expression (49% of rural students vs. 42% of suburban and 42% of urban students).
- 36% of rural LGBT students had missed class and/or a day of school in the past month due to feeling unsafe, compared to 30% of suburban LGBT students and 30% of urban LGBT students. (source: www.glsen.org)
This information, I believe, tells us two things. First, that we as school counselors need to be trained in working with LGBT students and families: What Is Your LGBT IQ? LGBT students across the board feel that we are the people they are most able to seek out to talk about these issues. If you are a counselor at a small or rural school, seek out trainings at local, state, or national conventions. Many school counseling conferences now feature sessions on working with LGBT students and families. You can also look at webinars on LGBT topics sponsored both by ASCA as well as GLSEN. Secondly, we need to consider ways to let students know that we are a safe-space for them to have these conversations. This can be done by sponsoring or making a visit to your school's Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) or by posting a Safe-Space sticker somewhere in your office. As the data in this report tells us, this is an issue of academic performance, post-secondary outcomes, school safety, and attendance. By addressing this issue, you are helping to remove barriers to academic success for all students.
Read the full report here or view the webinar.
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