In What States Do LGBT Students Get Harassed Most

By Julissa Catalan


The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN)an organization that focuses on improving the education system and experience for LGBT studentshas released new, detailed information following the 2013 release of its National School Climate Survey.

Close to 8,000 LGBT students between the ages of 13 and 21from all over the countrywere asked if they experienced bullying in school because of their sexual orientation, and to describe their experiences.

The state-by-state data list LGBT middle-school, high-school and college harassment according to three categories: experience verbal assault, physical harassment and physical assault.

Experience Verbal Assault

South Carolina is listed as the state with the most verbal assault at 87 percent, while Massachusetts comes in last on the list at 58 percent.

There were quite a few states that were only a small percentage off from South Carolina, including:

  • 81 percent: Indiana, Maine and Missouri
  • 80 percent: Alabama, Georgia and Oklahoma
  • 79 percent: Arizona, Florida, Michigan and Texas
  • 78 percent: North Carolina and Tennessee

Experience Physical Harassment

The same states topped this list with Tennessee having the most physical harassment toward LGBT youths at 48 percent.

Tennessee is followed by Kentucky (47 percent), Alabama (46 percent), Missouri (42 percent), South Carolina (42 percent), Indiana (39 percent), Arizona (38 percent), Oklahoma (38 percent), Maine (38 percent), Texas (38 percent), Michigan (37 percent), Florida (35 percent), Georgia (32 percent) and North Carolina (31 percent).

Massachusetts is again at the bottom of the list with 17 percent.

Experience Physical Assault

Though the percentages for assault are much lower than those for verbal and physical harassment, the same states listed above also lead the list when it comes to LGBT students who are assaulted for their sexual orientation.

Alabama: 28 percent

Kentucky: 26 percent

Oklahoma: 24 percent

Indiana, Maine and Tennessee: 22 percent

South Carolina and Arizona: 21 percent

Michigan: 20 percent

Florida, Missouri and Wisconsin: 19 percent

Georgia and Texas: 18 percent

North Carolina: 17 percent

Connecticut comes in last at 5 percent.

Fifty-five percent of the students surveyed reported feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation.

Still, these numbers are considered to be an improvement compared to findings in GLSEN’s 2011 school climate survey.

DiversityInc Senior Vice President, Executive Editor Barbara Frankel is a member of GLSEN’s board of directors.

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