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Education Organizations ‘Double Down’ on Commitment to LGBTQ Youth

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Two of the nation's largest education organizations - National Parent Teacher Association and National Education Association - have strengthened their support for LGBTQ youth.

The National PTA announced earlier this week that it adopted a resolution calling for federal policies that specifically protect LGBTQ youth and local practices that foster a safe and inclusive environment for all students.

"The vast majority of LGBTQ students are bullied, physically assaulted and feel unsafe in school because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or identity," said Laura Bay, president of National PTA, in a statement. "National PTA delegates have taken a stand to push for policies and protections for LGBTQ youth to make sure they have positive school experiences."

The NEA, which represents 3 million educators and their support staff, announced on July 4 it will "double down" on protecting the rights of LGBTQ students and education professionals. The organization said this will involve a "multi-pronged approach" involving national, state and local partners.

"Unfortunately, due to the recent horrific event in Orlando and the actions in state houses across the country where politicians are playing games with the lives of children and teens who are seen as different, now is the time for educators to boldly and assertively assume a leadership role in this human and civil rights issue," said NEA President Lily Eskelsen GarcĂ­a in a statement.

LGBTQ advocates applauded the announcements.

"The power and reach of these two organizations is staggering, and we thank the leadership and members who overwhelmingly voted [in] support of LGBTQ-inclusion," wrote Ellen Kahn, Director of HRC's Children, Youth & Families Program, in blog post.

Shannon Cuttle, founder and director of Safe Schools Action Network, was equally enthusiastic.

"It is wonderful that that NEA and the National PTA have strengthened their commitment to inclusive safe schools for all students," Cuttle told NBC OUT. "LGBTQ youth, especially transgender and youth of color, face distinct challenges that need to be addressed to ensure equity and well-being across the whole school community."

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