If you visit NEA’s Washington, D.C. headquarters and peer up at the building’s rooftop, you will see a colorful flag waving in the breeze. It is our Pride flag, and we are flying it throughout June in honor of Pride Month.
NEA joins in the celebration of the LGBTQ community’s progress, but we also recognize the distance we still must go to achieve full equality.
Educators know the importance of surrounding LGBTQ students with the tools and resources they need, and that begins with supporting them and affirming who they are.
At a time when there are ongoing efforts to curtail the rights of LGBTQ students and erode their pride and sense of security, there is much we can do to nurture them.
At least 10 states introduced anti-transgender bills in this legislative session. Some bills attempt to limit the ability of transgender people to access health care and update their identity documents. Others create special exemptions that discriminate against the LGBTQ community.
Students certainly feel this hostility. A survey of more than 12,000 LGBTQ students by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and the University of Connecticut discovered that these teens are experiencing stress, anxiety, and rejection at alarming levels, and often feel unsafe in their classrooms.
We educators can make a powerful statement about the rights of all our students—no matter who they are or what their sexual identity or orientation is—to be respected and supported with every resource they need.
You can sign the “Pledge to Support LGBTQ Equality,” which takes a stand for the safety of LGBTQ students and educators alike. You can also read our resource, “Protecting Our Students’ Civil Rights,” for examples of how some schools and districts are creating welcoming schools for students, and to review legal guidance for strengthening protections for all students.