LGBTQ rights and acceptance have made noteworthy strides in just the last 10 years, but there is still more work to be done -- especially in America's schools.
Biased remarks, bullying and harassment remain "a significant problem" in U.S. schools, according to a report released this week by GLSEN, a national organization dedicated to school safety and equality. The report, titled "From Teasing to Torment," found 74 percent of middle and high school students experienced some form of peer victimization in the past school year.
Biased remarks were found to be an especially prevalent form of peer victimization. The most common remarks heard were sexist remarks (56 percent heard often or very often), racist remarks (55 percent heard often or very often) and expressions using "gay" in a negative way (55 percent heard often or very often). Forty-three percent of students reported hearing other homophobic remarks often or very often.
What may be an even more troubling finding, however, are the biased remarks students reported hearing from teachers. Fifteen percent of students reported hearing teachers make homophobic remarks, while 13 percent reported hearing transphobic comments.
While the study's findings may seem unsettling, GLSEN noted there has been gradual progress made over the past decade.
"Since 2005, we have seen significant investment in bullying-prevention in the United States, and an unprecedented level of public attention to this serious issue," GLSEN Executive Director Dr. Eliza Byard said in a statement. "It is encouraging to see that we're making progress. However, it is absolutely clear that we must pay more focused attention to some of the most persistent forms of bias in order to continue to move the needle and improve school climate in America."
The full report is available on GLSEN's website: "From Teasing to Torment: School Climate Revisited."