LGBTQ, racial justice advocates releases studies showing compounding effects of racism and homophobia for LGBTQ students of color


Gebe Martinez

Two in five LGBTQ students of color are harassed on the basis of both race and LGBTQ identities in schools

NEW YORK - Today, GLSEN, the leading education organization working to create safe and inclusive K-12 schools for LGBTQ students -- working in partnership with the Center for Native American Youth (CNAY), Hispanic Federation, the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), and UnidosUS released a series of four reports, each outlining the challenges, harassment and hostile climates faced by LGBTQ students of color belonging to four different communities: Asian American and Pacific Islander, Black, Latinx, and Native and Indigenous.

The report series, entitled Erasure and Resilience: The Experiences of LGBTQ Students of Color, includes findings from over 7,500 K-12 student respondents from schools across the country and shows the compounding damage to LGBTQ students of color when racism intersects with transphobia or homophobia and that this experience is consistent across all four groups of students.

“These reports arrive as the United States wrestles with two fundamental challenges to our commitment to provide a K-12 education to every child – the depth of the systemic racism undermining true educational equity in our K-12 school systems; and the rising tide of racist, anti-LGBTQ, anti-immigrant, and White Christian nationalist sentiment being expressed in the mainstream of U.S. society.” said GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard, “The students whose lives are illuminated in these reports bear the brunt of both of these challenges. Their resilience calls on each of us to join the fight.”

While each reports outlines data unique to its respective community, the research, led by GLSEN Research Institute staff Nhan Truong and Adrian Zongrone, also reveals findings that hold true across Asian American and Pacific Islander, Black, Latinx, and Native and Indigenous LGBTQ students alike, including:

  • Approximately 2 in 5 LGBTQ students of color across all racial/ethnic groups reported experiencing harassment on the bases of both LGBTQ identity and race.

  • LGBTQ students of color that experience both forms of victimization have the greatest levels of depression, lowest feelings of school belonging, and are most likely to skip school because they feel unsafe (compared to those who experience one or neither form of victimization).

  • School clubs (GSAs and ethnic/cultural clubs), supportive educators, and inclusive curriculum all improve student well-being and educational outcomes for LGBTQ students of color.

Statements from each partnering organization below:

Nikki Pitre (Coeur d’Alene Tribe), Acting Executive Director, CNAY: “The Erasure and Resilience: The Experiences of LGBTQ Students of Color report serves as a guide to address the systemic issues impacting Native youth. We should leverage this data to ask for targeted investments that support the most vulnerable youth in our communities.”

Frankie Miranda, President, Hispanic Federation: “We’re excited this research illustrates intersecting challenges faced by Latinx LGBTQ students, and call for more research to develop best practices and policies to support their social and academic success. Latinx LGBTQ students like myself, who experienced harassment, assault, or victimization because of personal characteristics, are twice as likely to skip school because they feel unsafe, and less likely to plan to obtain a four-year degree. Inclusive curriculum, supportive personnel, and clear school guidelines for responding to bullying or racist behavior can make a difference. We must work toward a future in which all children – including Latinx LGBTQ youth – have opportunities to learn in safe, supportive environments, free from bias, hate, and discrimination.”

David J. Johns, Executive Director, NBJC: “The results of the most recent research from GLSEN shows that Black LGBTQ/SGL students experience victimization that can lead to adverse effects, that have lasting impact. Educators, advocates, and those dedicated to supporting the learning and development of students should read this report and use it’s findings to improve policies and practices.”

Khudai Tanveer, Organizing Director, NQAPIA: “As the country grows to understand queer and gender expansive youth, we must remember to highlight the unique experiences Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) face at the intersections of their identities. We must uplift the complex experiences of youth of color and recognize a need for a nuanced framework that enhances liberation of all.”

Margaret R. McLeod, Ed.D, Vice President, Education, Workforce Development and Evaluation, UnidosUS: “While this data shows that Latinx LGBTQ+ youth that can identify supportive educators at school are more likely to plan on completing high school, many don’t have access to these educators. This lack of access means more kids drop out – one factor contributing to low high school completion rates for Latinx youth.”

Data for these reports came from GLSEN’s 2017 National School Climate Survey (NSCS). Participants completed an online survey about their experiences in school during the 2016–2017 school year, including hearing biased remarks, feelings of safety, experiencing harassment and assault, feeling comfortable at school, and experiencing anti-LGBTQ discriminatory school policies and practices. They were also asked about their academic achievement, attitudes about school, school involvement, and availability and impact of supportive school resources. The full sample for the 2017 NSCS was 23,001 LGBTQ middle and high school students between 13 and 21 years old. In the survey, participants were asked how they identified their race/ethnicity, and were given several options. For each report, the sample consisted of any LGBTQ student in the national sample who only identified as the racial/ethnic identity of that specific report, as well as those who identified as that racial/ethnic identity and one or more additional racial/ethnic identities (multiracial).

Report webinars
For Erasure and Resilience: The Experiences of LGBTQ Students of Color, the GLSEN Research Institute and partnering organizations will host a series of webinars over each of the next four weeks to present the unique data of each report on the following dates:

Latinx LGBTQ students webinar, March 26, 4-5pm (EST), register here
Black LGBTQ students webinar, March 19, 4-5pm (EST), register here
AAPI LGBTQ students webinar, April 2, 4-5pm (EST), register here
Native and Indigenous LGBTQ students webinar, April 9, 4-5pm (EST), register here


GLSEN works to create safe and inclusive schools for all. We envision a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or gender expression. Each year, GLSEN programs and resources reach millions of students and educators in K-12 schools, via action at the national, state, and local level. Over nearly three decades of work, GLSEN has improved conditions for LGBTQ students across the United States and launched an international movement to address LGBTQ issues in education and promote respect for all in schools. Find more information on GLSEN’s policy advocacy, student leadership initiatives, school-based programs, research, and professional development for educators at

The GLSEN Research Institute supports the organization's mission by conducting original research on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression in K-12 education and evaluating GLSEN programs and initiatives. The Institute also provides technical assistance to local GLSEN chapters, safe school advocates, and other NGOs globally who wish to conduct local research on LGBTQ student experiences.

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS. NBJC’s mission is to end racism, homophobia, and LGBTQ/SGL bias and stigma. As America’s leading national Black LGBTQ/SGL civil rights organization focused on federal public policy, NBJC has accepted the charge to lead Black families in strengthening the bonds and bridging the gaps between the movements for racial justice and LGBTQ/SGL equality. For more information, visit

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) is a federation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) organizations. NQAPIA seeks to build the capacity of local LGBT AAPI organizations, invigorate grassroots organizing, develop leadership, and challenge anti-LGBTQ, racism, and anti-immigrant bias. For more information, visit

UnidosUS, previously known as NCLR (National Council of La Raza), is the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization. Through its unique combination of expert research, advocacy, programs, and an Affiliate Network of nearly 300 community-based organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico, UnidosUS simultaneously challenges the social, economic, and political barriers that affect Latinos at the national and local levels. For more than 50 years, UnidosUS has united communities and different groups seeking common ground through collaboration, and that share a desire to make our country stronger. For more information, visit

The mission of the Hispanic Federation is to empower and advance the Hispanic community. The Hispanic Federation provides grants and services to a broad network of Latino non-profit agencies serving the most vulnerable members of the Hispanic community and advocates nationally with respect to the vital issues of education, health, immigration, economic empowerment, civic engagement and the environment. For more information, visit

The Center for Native American Youth (CNAY) is a national advocacy organization working to improve the health, safety, and overall well-being of Native American youth ages 24 and under. Founded by former US Senator Byron Dorgan, CNAY is a policy program within the Aspen Institute, headquartered in Washington, DC. While a part of the Aspen Institute, CNAY is also overseen by a Board of Advisors. We strive to bring greater national attention to the issues facing Native American youth while fostering community-driven solutions, with special emphasis on youth suicide prevention. For more information, visit