2023 LGBTQ+ Student Advisory Council Survey & Listening Campaign Outcomes

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2023 Nevada LGBTQ+ STUDENT SURVEY & LISTENING CAMPAIGN OUTCOMES


2 | SILVER STATE EQUALITY | 2023 NEVADA LGBTQ+ STUDENT SURVEY & LISTENING CAMPAIGN OUTCOME


2023 Nevada LGBTQ+ Student Survey & Listening Campaign Outcomes

In 2023, a concerning surge of anti-LGBTQ+ bills emerged, gaining traction and passing through state legislatures nationwide in the United States. The onslaught targeted school districts and library boards, encompassing anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-trans rhetoric. This included attempts to eliminate LGBTQ+ themed/related books from educational institutions. The array of policies, spanning sports bans, forced outing measures, and others, unfolded against the backdrop of constrained mental health resources and the persistent challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic. This collective scenario has placed an unprecedented level of stress on LGBTQ+ youth.1 Established in 2022, the Silver State Equality LGBTQ+ Student Advisory Council comprises LGBTQ+ students and adult mentors from various parts of Nevada. They collaborate to understand the needs of LGBTQ+ students in the state and bring that information, and their recommendations, to the community. Recently, the Council sought insights from their peers regarding their experiences in Nevada schools through a listening campaign, which included an online survey and in-depth conversations. The following information demonstrates their findings.

1 Human Rights Campaign. Municipal Equality Index 2023. HRC.org, 2023. https://www.hrc.org/press-releases/hrcs-2023-survey-of-

cities-towns-shows-record-support-for-lgbtq-residents-despite-unprecedented-homophobic-transphobic-rhetoric-attacks-by-states

2023 NEVADA LGBTQ+ STUDENT SURVEY & LISTENING CAMPAIGN OUTCOMES | SILVER STATE EQUALITY | 3


Inclusivity in School Resources & Curriculum 39.1% of students reported never learning about LGBTQ+ history, being assigned books by LGBTQ+ authors, or hearing LGBTQ+ stories or people referenced in class. Students in rural schools were even less likely to have experienced LGBTQ+ curriculum than students in urban schools.2

38.1%

“I feel as though there needs to be more education and speaking in schools about LGBTQ+ issues and learning about LGBTQ+ history” – Nevada 9th grader

%

74.6

74.6% of students say that their school has inadequate resources for LGBTQ+ students.

55.8%

55.8% say that they never or rarely feel safe talking with school counselors.

61.9%

61.9% say their schools have inadequate marked safe spaces for LGBTQ+ students.

41.8%

41.8% of students reported never or rarely feeling safe accessing school nurses.

18%

18% reported being prevented from starting a GSA (Gay Straight Alliance).

“Inclusive education would probably make it a whole lot better!” – Nevada 9th grader

2 In 2021 AB261 was signed into law to require school districts to implement inclusive school curriculums that include LGBTQ+

history and key figures https://legiscan.com/NV/text/AB261/id/2372437

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Discrimination & Bullying

38.7%

38.7% of students say they do not feel secure at school.

79.4% reported having experienced discrimination from those in authority for their LGBTQ+ identity. Trans/non-cisgender students experience an even higher rate of discrimination than cisgender students; and students in rural schools experienced more school discrimination than students in urban schools.

79.4%

32.4%

32.4% of students reported being prevented from using their chosen name at school.

%

19.1

19.1% reported being prevented from wearing gender-aligned clothes.

39.6%

39.6% reported being prevented from using gender-aligned bathrooms or locker rooms.

60

60% of students surveyed about bullying had been teased by peers for being LGBTQ+ within the last 6 months.

%

“The [school] climate right now is very toxic and mentally taxing.” – Nevada 12th grader

49%

49% had been deliberately excluded by peers within the last 6 months.

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“It’s hard sometimes, everytime I hear about hate happening anywhere I get a little more scared to leave my house and go to school. I know legally I’m protected in Nevada but individually I don’t feel it as much.” – Nevada 10th grader

Themes •

All LGBTQ+ students experience discrimination and bullying, but trans students are particularly vulnerable to this treatment.

Students attending schools in rural parts of the state experience higher rates of bullying and school-level institutional discrimination than in metropolitan areas and want the support of legislators and the larger community.

Students are getting support from friends and other LGBTQ+ students, but need to be receiving more support from school officials in order to feel secure and thrive at school.

Schools including LGBTQ+ history, authors, and stories would make students feel more included and increase their sense of belonging and safety. We hope this will improve as AB 261 (2019) is implemented.

Many students feel like Nevada is a good place for LGBT+ people to live, relative to other states because of existing legislation, but still experience significant anxiety as a result of anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments.

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Policy & Practice Recommendations •

State and local governments should invest in the mental health of young people by funding programs to expand the number of mental health providers in Nevada. More mental health services are needed for LGBTQ+ youth, including therapists specifically trained in LGBTQ+ issues. In 2023, The Trevor Project found that 56% of LGBTQ youth who wanted mental health care in the past year were not able to get it.3

An enumerated model anti-bullying policy should be implemented to protect students from bullying. Addressing bullying should start with decreasing institutional discrimination from schools, which sets the tone for the way LGBTQ+ students are treated by their peers. A variety of research shows that inclusive policies which specifically name and protect LGBTQ+ students are a critical tool for creating safe and supportive schools for all youth4. In 2019, GLSEN found that only 10% of NV LGBTQ+ students they surveyed attended a school with a “comprehensive anti-bullying/harassment policy that included specific protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.”5

School staff and administrators should be required to receive diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging training that is inclusive of LGBTQ+ content and resources. Training school staff (teachers, administrators, counselors, nurses) to work with LGBTQ+ youth could help schools serve their students more effectively. The Trevor Project found that youth who found their school to be LGBTQ+ affirming reported lower rates of attempting suicide. The report reads, “Roughly half of transgender and nonbinary young people found their school to be genderaffirming, and those who did reported lower rates of attempting suicide.”

“Nevada is in a good situation with the laws in place but when I speak to some adults they think that we’re ok just because we have the laws, but we must always be working to change hearts and minds.” – Nevada 10th grader

3 The Trevor Project. 2023 U.S. National Survey on the Mental Health of LGBTQ Young People. TheTrevorProject.org, 2023.

https://www.thetrevorproject.org/survey-2023/#intro 4 Loverno, Salvatore. “Promoting School Safety for LGBTQ and All Students.” NCBI, 11 September 2021, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.

gov/pmc/articles/PMC8454913/. Accessed 15 November 2023. 5 Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network. School Climate for LGBT Students in Nevada. GLSEN.org, 2019. https://www.glsen.

org/sites/default/files/2021-01/Nevada-Snapshot-2019.pdf

*Demographics of students surveyed: Gender Identity categorical: 26.7% cisgender, 73.3% trans or identify as other than cisgender County: Clark: 46.8%, Douglas: 21%, Elko: 3.2%, Lincoln:1.6%, Nye: 1.6%, Washoe: 25.8% Urban vs. Rural: Urban: 72.6% (state pop = 94% urban) Rural: 27.4% (state pop = 6% rural

2023 NEVADA LGBTQ+ STUDENT SURVEY & LISTENING CAMPAIGN OUTCOMES | SILVER STATE EQUALITY | 9


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