Lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) youth and those perceived as LGBT are at an increased risk of being bullied. There are important and unique considerations for strategies to prevent and address bullying of LGBT youth.
Creating a Safe Environment for LGBT Youth
It is important to build a safe environment for all youth, whether they are straight or LGBT. All youth can thrive when they feel supported. Parents, schools, and communities can all play a role in helping LGBT youth feel physically and emotionally safe:
- Build strong connections and keep the lines of communication open. Some LGBT youth often feel rejected. It is important for them to know that their families, friends, schools, and communities support them.
- Establish a safe environment at school. Schools can send a message that no one should be treated differently because they are, or are perceived to be, LGBT. Sexual orientation and gender identity protection can be added to school policies.
- Create gay-straight alliances (GSAs). GSAs help create safer schools. Schools must allow these groups if they have other “non-curricular” clubs or groups. Learn more about the right to form a GSA under the Equal Access Act.
- Protect privacy. Be careful not to disclose or discuss issues around being LGBT with parents or anyone else.
Federal Civil Rights Laws and Sexual Orientation
Federal civil rights laws do not cover harassment based on sexual orientation. Often, bullying towards LGBT youth targets their non-conformity to gender norms. This may be sexual harassment covered under Title IX. Read more about federal civil rights laws.
Many states protect against bullying because of sexual orientation in their state laws.
- Bullying of LGBT Youth and Those Perceived to Have Different Sexual Orientations Tip Sheet - PDF
- Learn more about preventing bullying.
- Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website to support LGBT youth.
- Read a paper on LGBT bullying - PDF from the White House Conference on Bullying.
- Read more about health-risk behaviors in LGBT youth.