All Students Deserve Safe and Affirming Schools

Supporting LGBTQ+ Youth

Educators, parents, students and communities are uniting across race, genders and place to demand safe and affirming schools where all our students can learn, grow and thrive.  Our LGBTQ+ students need us to ensure our schools are places where all students are protected and empowered

June 2022 Equality Without Exceptions PRIDE Month of Actions

Across our races, backgrounds, and genders, we all want the same: great public schools for every student. We want students to have the freedom to be themselves and pursue their dreams.  But today, some politicians are pushing laws that restrict our freedoms, and some are attempting to put students into boxes based on the color of their skin, where they live, or their gender. They fuel divisions among parents by pushing laws that erase our history, from Selma to Stonewall, and target and punish educators for doing their jobs. They want to limit what books students can read, and in some cases, exclude transgender kids from healthcare, school, and sports.  These politicians are exploiting lack of familiarity with transgender students to distract us from their failures to deliver for our families and communities. We are not fooled by their cruel and politically motivated tactics and will continue to join parents, students, and educators to make public schools places where we are all free to thrive and support each other for who we are. 

There are so many ways to make your voice heard during this month of action. Here are just some ideas and resources to increase visibility and show support in your community.

Join us for Equality without Exceptions: PRIDE Month of Action as we come together for allyship, support, and strength. Add an action in support of LGBTQ+ youth to the growing list of events across the country or find an event near you.

Click on the map below to find details on local events and actions!


Put your community on the 2022 Equality Without Exceptions Map!


What You Need to Know About State Laws Attacking Transgender Youth


Across race and place, educators and advocates are coming together to ensure our students have safe and welcoming schools where they can thrive.

Over the last few years, the LGBTQ+ community has won important victories against discrimination. In June 2020, the Supreme Court recognized the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals to be free from employment discrimination in Bostock v. Clayton County. Since taking office in January 2021, President Biden has prioritized preventing and combating anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination, announcing that children “should be able to learn without worrying whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports” and that people “should be able to access healthcare . . . without being subjected to sex discrimination.”



In Response to COVID-19: A Checklist to Support LGBTQ Students During Distance Learning 

During the COVID-19 quarantine, educators across the country are learning how to continue to provide a safe and affirming experience for LGBTQ students via distance learning. Recent data supports the need for educator action and focus.

According to HRC’s 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report:

      • 67% of LGBTQ students hear their families make negative comments about LGBTQ people.
      • While some students are open about their LGBTQ identity at school, only 21% are out at home.
      • Privacy and confidentiality are critically important for LGBTQ youth, especially for those who do not have supportive families. Extreme rejecting behaviors can have dire consequences: Approximately 40% of the homeless youth population in the United States identify as LGBTQ, most as a result of rejection by immediate family members.
      • Additionally, LGBTQ youth of color often face additional stress and adverse impacts on their health and well-being as a result of bias around their intersecting identities.



True learning only happens when students feel supported and celebrated in the classroom and when everyone in the school community can be their authentic selves -no matter their race, immigration status, sexual orientation or gender identities.

We will not fall for the politics of division and distraction –Instead, we will continue to join together to ensure all students have everything they need to learn, grow and thrive.

NEA and our many partners have the resources you are looking for to navigate your rights and to join together for safe and inclusive schools.


Students Mobilize in Support of Transgender Rights Policy

In 2015, the biennial “Youth Risk Behavior Survey” released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) drew attention to the alarming number of LGBTQ students who had contemplated and made a plan for suicide. The suicide numbers were even higher for transgender students, although the CDC did not separately survey transgender students.

In Frederick County, Maryland, the survey sparked a student-led movement that resulted in the Frederick County School Board convening a meeting to discuss the issue. A number of transgender students told their stories and shared their experiences. The student movement led to the implementation of the school district’s first-ever comprehensive transgender rights policy — Policy 443: Creating Welcoming and Affirming Schools for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students.

Read More

Additional info:

Read Less

5 Things Educators Are Doing to Support LGBTQ Rights Now

Educators are on the leading edge of campaigns, initiatives and legislative efforts to create safe and affirming schools and support LGBTQ student rights.

Take Action ›

Now here’s what you can do: Join educators around the country in signing our pledge to stand up against hate and bias.

Below are links to summaries of some of the myriad ways educators are standing with LGBTQ students, and working to ensure they feel supported and welcome in our schools and communities.

  1. Fostering Safe and Affirming Schools for All Students
  2. Helping to Shape LGBTQ-inclusive Curriculum and Textbooks 
  3. Training Other Educators to Raise their Voices for LGBTQ Students
  4. Backing Legislation That Supports LGBTQ Students’ Rights 
  5. Supporting School Naming Initiatives That Honor Legacies of LGBTQ Activists & Leaders 
Read More

A 2015 survey by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) found that “LGBTQ students experience pervasive harassment and discrimination, but school-based supports can make a difference.” The results of GLSEN’s 2017 National School Climate Survey will be released in Fall 2018.

Additional Info: 

Read Less

Take Action


Now is our time to demand the fully resourced and supportive schools all our families need and to ensure all LGBTQ+ people are free to be their authentic selves and pursue their dreams.

Sign the pledge!



What Do You Say?

What do you say to "That's so gay" and other anti-LGBTQ comments? What can caring adults do? Stop it, don't ignore it, educate, and be pro-active!

Read More

Support Trans Students

"Schools In Transition: A Guide for Supporting Transgender Students in K-12 Schools" offers recommendations and resources based on research and best practices that have been tested in the field.

View the Guide

Jump Start Your GSA

Learn how to establish or re-establish a Gay-Straight Alliance, identify your mission and goals, and assess your school's climate. Jump start your GSA to create safer schools for all!

Learn More