Wisconsin Schools Remain Hostile for Many LGBTQ Secondary Students, GLSEN Report Finds

by | Jan 11, 2017 | 0 comments

WISCONSIN (January 11, 2017) – GLSEN today released state-level data from its benchmark National School Climate Survey, which shows that U.S. secondary schools are slowly improving but remain hostile environments for many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students.

The biennial survey, which began in 1999, found that harassment and discrimination negatively affect LGBTQ students’ educational outcomes and mental health. The research also confirmed that lower levels of harassment and better educational outcomes are related to the presence of school-based supports: LGBTQ-inclusive anti-bullying policies, LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum, supportive educators and Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs).

For Wisconsin specifically, the report found:

  • The vast majority of LGBTQ students in Wisconsin regularly heard anti-LGBTQ remarks. Many also regularly heard school staff make homophobic remarks (17 percent) and negative remarks about someone’s gender expression (37 percent).
  • Most LGBTQ students in Wisconsin had been victimized at school. Of those, the majority (53 percent) never reported the incident to school staff. Only 35 percent of those students who reported incidents said it resulted in effective staff intervention.
  • Many LGBTQ students in Wisconsin reported discriminatory policies or practices at their school. Seven in 10 (69 percent) experienced at least one form of discrimination at school during the past year. In Wisconsin, nearly two-thirds of transgender students (62 percent) were unable to use the school restroom that aligned with their gender identity.
  • Many LGBTQ students in Wisconsin did not have access to in-school resources and supports. Only a fifth (11 percent) attended a school with a comprehensive anti-bullying/harassment policy; a quarter (28 percent) had access to an LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum. However, 70 percent could identify six or more supportive school staff, and almost two-thirds (65 percent) had access to a GSA or similar student club.

“This research makes clear that many LGBTQ students in Wisconsin are still lacking safe and inclusive schools,” said Dr. Joseph Kosciw, GLSEN’s Chief Research and Strategy Officer. “Leaders in Wisconsin must work to change this by supporting GSAs, creating and implementing policies that specifically protect LGBTQ students, providing professional development that helps educators support LGBTQ students and increasing access to curriculum that positively depicts LGBTQ people, history and events.”

State snapshots for 30 states can be found at www.glsen.org/statesnapshots. To access infographics, an executive summary and the complete GLSEN National School Climate Survey report, visit www.glsen.org/nscs.



GLSEN champions safe and affirming schools for all students. We envision a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Each year, GLSEN programs and resources reach tens of thousands of K-12 schools across the United States, and our network of chapters brings GLSEN’s expertise to their local communities. GLSEN’s progress and impact have won support for our work at all levels of education in the United States and sparked an international movement to ensure equality for LGBTQ students and respect for all in schools. For more information on GLSEN’s policy advocacy, student leadership initiatives, public education, research and educator training programs, please visit glsen.org.

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