LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual) equality is achieved when all sexual orientations and gender identities are treated equally and enjoy the same rights and opportunities across all sectors of society, including economic participation and decision-making, and when the hopes, aspirations, diversities, and needs of all sexual orientations and gender identities are equally valued and favored.
Discrimination Against LGBTQIA people
- 15-43% of LGBTQ employees have experienced some form of either discrimination and harassment in the workplace. (catalyst.org)
- 58% of LGBTQ employees report that a coworker had made a joke or derogatory comment about LGBTQ people “at least once in a while.” (catalyst.org)
- Gay male couples were 15.9% less likely to receive a favorable response from landlords and lesbian couples were 15.6% less likely. (rawstory.com)
LGBTQIA Youth Bullying Issues
Bullying – is unwanted, aggressive behavior. It involves a real or perceived power imbalance and the behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.
The National Conference of State Legislatures researcher Finessas Ferrell-Smith adds,
“The first element is a pattern of behavior over time – repeated exposure to intentional injury inflicted by one or more students against another. . . A second common element is a perceived imbalance of power, which allows one student – or group of students – to victimize others.”
LGBTQIA youth, or those perceived to be LGBTQIA, are teased and bullied by their peers. Educators, health professionals, parents, and other concerned adults can make a difference in the lives of LGBTQIA youth. Often bullying towards LGBTQIA youth targets their non-conformity to gender norms. (stopbullying.gov)
Safety and Victimization at School –
- 63.5% felt unsafe because of their sexual orientation, 43.9% because of their gender expression.
- Transgender students were most likely to feel unsafe at school, with 80% of transgender students reporting that they felt unsafe at school because of their gender expression.
- 58.7% of gender non-conforming students experienced verbal harassment in the past school year because of their gender expression, compared to 29% of their peers.
- 81.9% of LGBTQIA students were verbally harassed (e.g., called names or threatened) in the past school year because of their sexual orientation, and 63.9% because of their gender expression.
- 60.4% of students who were harassed or assaulted in school did not report the incident to school staff, most often believing little to no action would be taken or the situation could become worse if reported.
Biased Remarks at School –
- 84.9% of students heard “gay” used in a negative way (e.g., “that’s so gay”) frequently or often at school, and 91.4% reported that they felt distressed because of this language.
- 61.4% heard negative remarks about gender expression (not acting “masculine” enough or “feminine” enough) frequently or often.
Inclusive Curriculum –
- Students in schools with an inclusive curriculum heard fewer homophobic and transphobic remarks including the negative use of the word “gay” the phrase “no homo,” and homophobic epithets (e.g., “fag” or “dyke”), and fewer negative comments about someone’s gender expression than those without an inclusive curriculum.
- Only 16.8% of students are taught positive representations about LGBTQIA people, history, or events in their schools. Less than half (44.1%) of students reported that they could find information about LGBTQIA-related issues in their school library, and only two in five (42.1%) with Internet access at school reported being able to access LGBTQIA-related information online via school computers.
Comprehensive Bullying and Harassment Policies and Laws –
- Six in ten (59.5%) of students in schools with comprehensive policies heard homophobic remarks (e.g., “faggot” or “dyke”) often or frequently, compared to almost three-quarters of students in schools with generic, non-enumerated policies (73.3%) or no policy whatsoever (73.8%).
- Students in schools with policies were more likely than students in schools with a generic policy or no policy to report that staff intervened when hearing homophobic remarks (28.3% vs. 12.2% vs. 8.8%) or negative remarks about gender expression (19% vs. 10.5% vs. 8.4%).
Failure of the U.S. Government to Protect All Students –
There is no comprehensive federal anti-discrimination, anti-harassment, and anti-bullying protection on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. This lack of comprehensive bullying and harassment protections results in higher dropout rates by LGBTQIA students and, for the aggressors, can become a “gateway” to other negative behaviors such as vandalism, shoplifting, and drug use.
The Progressive Party of Iowa believes that the U.S. Department of Education must provide more dollars for research that illustrates the causes and effects of bullying both inside and outside of the classroom and work with Congress to pass a comprehensive anti-harassment and anti-bullying law for public schools, community colleges, and universities.
Legislation that the Progressive Party of Iowa supports:
The Equality Act –
Student Non-Discrimination Act –
Safe Schools Improvement Act –
Employment Non-Discrimination Act –
Respect for Marriage Act –
Uniting American Families Act –
Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act –
However, most issues of equality for the LGBTQIA community have not seen the light of day. Even the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) has stalled in the House of Representative after its passage in the Senate. Issues such as housing, public accommodations, federally funded programs, or the homelessness of LGBTQIA youth have hardly been mentioned at the national level. Thus, PEVI fully supports a one-bill strategy for full federal LGBTQIA equality.