Report: Tennessee high schools are not safe for LGBT students

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The result of a survey of high school students across America conducted by GLSEN suggests that the Tennessee school environment is a hostile one for LGBT students.

The survey, which took place in 2015, collected information from 10,528 U.S. students, 198 of them from Tennessee. Highlights from the report include: 

  • The vast majority of LGBTQ students in Tennessee regularly heard anti-LGBT remarks. Many also regularly heard school staff make homophobic remarks (28 percent) and negative remarks about someone’s gender expression (47 percent).
  • Most LGBTQ students in Tennessee had been victimized at school. Of those, more than half never reported the incident to school staff (58 percent). Only 32 percent of those students who reported incidents said it resulted in effective staff intervention.
  • Many LGBTQ students in Tennessee reported discriminatory policies or practices at their school. Almost two-thirds (72 percent) experienced at least one form of discrimination at school during the past year. In Tennessee, half of transgender students (50 percent) were unable to use the school restroom that aligned with their gender identity.
  • Many LGBTQ students in Tennessee did not have access to in-school resources and supports. Only 3 percent attended a school with a comprehensive anti-bullying/harassment policy; a tenth (11 percent) had access to an LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum; only two in five (42 percent) could identify six or more supportive school staff; and less than a third (30 percent) had access to a GSA or similar student club.

The report concludes: "it is critical that Tennessee school leaders, education policymakers, and other individuals who are obligated to provide safe learning environments for all students take the following steps.

  • Implement comprehensive school anti-bullying/harassment policies
  • Support Gay-Straight Alliances
  • Provide professional development for school staff on LGBTQ student issues
  • Increase student access to LGBT-inclusive curricular resources.


See detailed results of the Tennessee survey, and results from the national survey.