Thursday, September 23, 2010

National LGBT Organizations Launch Claim Your Rights Campaign

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) National join with the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) today to launch their Claim Your Rights campaign, a historic effort to empower students and their allies to report incidences of bullying, harassment, or discrimination to the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Education Department. The campaign launch coincides with the release of GLSEN's 2009 National School Climate Survey, which found that 85% of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students report being harassed in school in the past year due to their sexual orientation. Moreover, 63.7% of LGBT students report being harassed because of how masculine or feminine they are in appearance or behavior.

“With fewer than 1 in 5 LGBT students saying their school specifically protects students from anti-LGBT bullying and harassment, it comes as no surprise that nearly two-thirds of LGBT students who experience harassment do not report the incident to school staff,” GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard said. “The Claim Your Rights Campaign provides students a safe way to report bullying and harassment.”

“When students and teachers, parents and allies make reports of bullying, harassment, or discrimination directly to the Education Department, they are building a record that will confirm what we know through research and personal narratives alike: bullying and harassment is widespread, pervasive, destructive, and must be addressed,” said Jody M. Huckaby, PFLAG National Executive Director. “It is our hope that our colleagues within the Obama Administration and our elected officials will take action immediately to remedy these disparities that far too many LGBT students experience daily,” Huckaby continued.

The new effort to report incidents of bullying, harassment, and discrimination includes a basic toolkit and instructions on how to submit a report online that can be found on both the PFLAG National (www.pflag.org/claimyourrights) and GLSEN’s websites.

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