Wed Dec 12, 2012, 12:03 PM
The Philosopher (895 posts)
LGBT Students in Rural Areas Face Heightened Victimization
Full Title: LGBT Students in Rural Areas Face Heightened Victimization, Have Less Accessibility to Support, According to GLSEN Study Strengths and Silences
Rural lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students feel less safe, face heightened victimization and have fewer supportive resources than LGBT students in suburban and urban areas, according to Strengths and Silences: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Students in Rural and Small Town Schools, a new study released today by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN). The report documents the experiences of more than 2,300 LGBT secondary students who attend schools in rural areas, using data collected from GLSEN's 2011 National School Climate Survey.
"Strengths and Silences is the first in-depth look at the significant challenges faced by LGBT students in rural areas and small towns," said GLSEN Executive Director Dr. Eliza Byard. "These students are frequently the most isolated - both physically and in terms of access to critical resources and support - and our findings require us to both honor their resilience and respond to their needs."
Strengths and Silences reveals heightened incidents of student victimization based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression in rural schools compared to suburban or urban schools. Findings also indicated that an unsafe school climate for LGBT students contributes to poorer grade point averages (GPAs), absenteeism and lowered aspirations to pursue post-secondary education.
"As bad as bullying can be at all schools, it seems to be amplified in the South and magnified in rural communities," said Morgan Yeager, a high school freshman from Portland, Tennessee. "It still seems impossible for me to be openly transgender. I am fearful of the responses I will get from the people in my school community. But GLSEN has given me the materials and strength to work for change in my community."
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