Research

We all want to help schools become safe, respectful communities, but how do we know where to start? What are the challenges that students and educators face? What works best to address those challenges?

GLSEN has been conducting research and evaluation on LGBTQ issues in K-12 education since 1999. Our research staff members are nationally recognized experts, trusted by safe schools advocates and researchers alike to provide the facts about our national school climate. Our research has helped to:

  • Motivate legislators to act on the challenges that LGBTQ students face in their home states.

  • Alert principals and other administrators why Gender and Sexuality Alliances, enumerated policies and other resources are so important to creating safe and respectful school communities.

  • Educate students and school staff about LGBTQ student experiences of bullying and harassment.

  • Identify and promote best practices and resources for creating safe and affirming schools.

  • Develop evidence for LGBTQ-affirming action through research in partnership with other organizations internationally

Our research and resources can empower you to make your community’s schools safer, more respectful, and more inclusive for LGBTQ youth.

Please review our other research and resources below.

2019 National School Climate Survey

The GLSEN National School Climate Survey* is our flagship report on the school experiences of LGBTQ youth in schools, including the extent of the challenges that they face at school and the school-based resources that support LGBTQ students’ well-being. The survey has consistently indicated that specific school-based supports are related to a safer and more inclusive school climate, including: supportive educators, LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum, inclusive and supportive policies, and supportive student clubs, such as Gay-Straight Alliances or Gender and Sexuality Alliances (GSAs).

Download our 2019 report.
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What's your school's climate?

GLSEN’s Local School Climate Survey is a free online survey tool for students, educators and other advocates to use to collect data on students’ experiences in their local school communities, such as, bullying, harassment, and bias based on gender, disability, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, gender expression, body type and/or religion. Results from your survey can be used to advocate for safer and more inclusive programs and policies in your local schools and communities. It’s easy to get started - check out our online Local School Climate Survey tool today!

Erasure and Resilience: The Experiences of LGBTQ Students of Color is a series of four research reports that examines the school experiences of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI), Black, Latinx, and Native and Indigenous LGBTQ youth. These reports were developed by the GLSEN Research Institute, in partnership with the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), Unidos US, Hispanic Federation, and the Center for Native American Youth (CNAY).

Each report includes information on the experiences of LGBTQ students of color in middle and high school, examining indicators of negative school climate as well as supports and resources, including:

  • Feelings of safety at school regarding personal characteristics

  • Experiences of racist and anti-LGBTQ harassment and assault from peers

  • Effects of a hostile school climate on educational outcomes and psychological well-being

  • Reporting harassment and assault to school staff and family members, and these adults' responses

  • Experiences of school disciplinary action

  • School resources and supports, including student clubs, supportive educators, and inclusive curriculum

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Erasure and Resilience 

Erasure and Resilience: AAIP LGBTQ+ Youth

Existing research has illustrated that both Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth often face unique issues in school related to their
marginalized identities.

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Erasure and Resilience: Black LGBTQ+ Youth

Existing research has illustrated that both Black as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth often face unique challenges at school related to their marginalized identities.

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Erasure and Resilience: Latinx LGBTQ+ Youth

Existing research has illustrated that Hispanic and Latino/Latina/Latinx youth (in this report, inclusively referred to as Latinx) as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth often

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Erasure and Resilience: Native and Indigenous LGBTQ+ Youth

Existing research has illustrated that Native American, American Indian, and Alaska Native youth as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender,
and queer (LGBTQ) youth often face unique challenges at school related to their marginalized identities.

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Playgrounds and Prejudice
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Playgrounds and Prejudice: Elementary School Climate in the United States, based on national surveys of 1,065 elementary school students in 3rd to 6th grade and 1,099 elementary school teachers of K-6th grade, examines students' and teachers' experiences with biased remarks and bullying, and their attitudes about gender expression and family diversity. The surveys were conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of GLSEN during November and December 2010.

Related Resource: Ready, Set, Respect! is a toolkit for addressing name-calling, bullying and bias, LGBTQ-inclusive family diversity, and gender roles and diversity in elementary schools.