All young people deserve access to safe and supportive public education, free from harassment and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. However, policies known as “No Promo Homo” and “Don’t Say Gay” laws ban educators from talking about LGBTQ people, issues and history entirely, or they only allow negative discussion. These laws keep supportive teachers from speaking out in the classroom, eliminating vital safe spaces for LGBTQ students. Compared to states without these laws, the 8 states that have instituted such stigmatization are less likely to report effective intervention from school staff in handling bullying and harassment problems.
The Trevor Project fights laws like these, and we work with local governments to advance resources, curricula and counseling services that are LGBTQ competent and readily available to all students. Trevor has also worked to address bullying and harassment through approaches that emphasize education, prevention and intervention. Recognizing that suicide is the second leading cause of death on college campuses as well as the second leading cause of death for all youth ages 10-24, The Trevor Project actively supports inclusive regulations and policies affecting institutions of higher education.
The Trevor Project also works to promote our Model School District Policy on Suicide Prevention and its continued adoption. When a young person is in crisis, school personnel who know the warning signs of suicide can become a life-saving resource. Nevertheless, only 16 states require school districts to institute any suicide prevention policy. By requiring all states’ school districts to establish such a policy, we will empower school personnel to safely intervene in a crisis to protect LGBTQ youth and their peers.