Studies show that Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual/Aromantic and plus (2SLGBTQIA+) students have a much higher risk of being the targets of harassment, as their identities do not conform to societal norms.
Egale’s second climate survey on homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia in Canadian schools outlines the enhanced bullying that 2SLGBTQIA+ students face compared to their cisgender heterosexual peers. The impact of bullying of 2SLGBTQIA+ children and youth has resulted in increased attention deficit and anxiety disorders in both children (ages 3-9) and youth (ages 10-17). We see a 16% increase in theses diagnoses in 2SLGBTQIA+ children and a 40% increase in 2SLGBTQIA+ youth as compared to their cisgender heterosexual peers.
School staff can greatly affect experiences for all 2SLGBTQIA+ people in the school and the community. There is undeniable need for staff members to be welcoming and inclusive, be trained in sexual and gender diversity, and have the skills to support those in the community. Research shows that youth mental health drastically improves when they receive positive reinforcement of their identity. For example, when a student is called by their chosen name, they experienced less depressive symptoms, a 29% drop in suicide ideation, and a 56% drop in suicide behavior. Those with a supportive parent, guardian, or school staff member reported a 70% increase in positive mental health, 64% higher self-esteem, and a 93% reduction in suicide attempts. (See papers by Russell et al., 2018 and Wells et al., 2017). This staggering improvement is not something to ignore.
Read more at LawNow.org.