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The report documented rampant bullying and discrimination against LGBT students in schools across the country, and urged policymakers and school officials to take concrete steps to respect and protect the rights of LGBT youth.
Over the last 15 years, lawmakers and school administrators have increasingly recognized that LGBT youth are a vulnerable population in school settings, and many have implemented policies designed to ensure all students feel safe and welcome at school. In many states and school districts, LGBT students and teachers lack protections from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
But the experience can be particularly difficult for LGBT students, who often struggle to make sense of their identities, lack support from family and friends, and encounter negative messaging about LGBT people at school and in their community.
Discrimination and bigotry against transgender students took various forms, including restricting bathroom and locker room access, limiting participation in extracurricular activities, and curtailing other forms of expression—for example, dressing for the school day or special events like homecoming.In others, protections that do exist are inadequate or unenforced.As transgender and gender non-conforming students have become more visible, too, many states and school districts have ignored their needs and failed to ensure they enjoy the same academic and extracurricular benefits as their non-transgender peers.A lack of policies and practices that affirm and support LGBT youth—and a failure to implement protections that do exist—means that LGBT students nationwide continue to face bullying, exclusion, and discrimination in school, putting them at physical and psychological risk and limiting their education.In 2001, Human Rights Watch published Hatred in the Hallways: Violence and Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Students in US Schools.