NCTE Celebrates Spirit Day

We at the National Center for Transgender Equality are proud to celebrate Spirit Day on October 17 and are going purple for the cause. Today, we continue our commitment to standing up against bullying and to showing our full support for transgender, lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth.

We encourage you to visit www.glaad.org/spiritday to see how you can join in the spirit and show your support of our future generations.

We know all too well that transgender youth are among the most vulnerable to bullying in and out of school. Just last month, we collected nearly 3,000 messages of support for Cassidy Campbell, who was bombarded with dozens of hateful online comments after being crowned homecoming queen at her high school in Huntington Beach, California. Violent and humiliating words placed a horrible damper on what should have been a celebratory day of acceptance.

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What is even more saddening is that Cassidy is only one of hundreds of transgender students who experience this type of bullying on a daily basis. According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, students who expressed transgender identity or gender non-conformity while in grades K-12 reported alarming rates of harassment (78%), physical assault (35%) and sexual violence (12%); harassment was so severe that it led almost one-sixth (15%) to leave a school in K-12 settings or in higher education. In addition, GLSEN’s Harsh Realities Report showed the effect that this harassment and violence has on a student’s ability to thrive in school. Nearly half of transgender students report regularly skipping school because of safety concerns, clearly impacting their ability to receive an education, and nearly one in six (15%) of transgender and gender nonconforming students face harassment so severe that they are forced to leave school.

Statistics like this reveal how important it is to have laws like California’s Student Success and Opportunity Act (A.B. 1266). Not only does the Act itself require trans-inclusive practices in school programs and activities, but its very existence shows transgender students that they are worthy of respect and equal treatment by school teachers, administrators, and students. Current attempts to repeal the School Success and Opportunity Act are only attempts to make school environments less safe and less inclusive for all students.

For more information about for teachers and school administrators, refer to the GLSEN and NCTE joint resource, “Model District Policy on Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Students.”

For students who have faced bullying, harassment, or violence at school, refer to NCTE’s “Your Rights at School” guide.

For transgender and gender non-conforming college students, visit the TONI Project.

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