Today in Utah, students risk their safety at school just by coming out or being authentic in their gender identity, expression, or sexual orientation. According to Outreach Resource Center more than 50% of the homeless youth they sevice identify as LGBTQ.  Between 20-40% of homeless youth Identify as LGBT according to NCSL. Utah is also 5th in the nation for youth rates of suicide.

At the same time, young people in high school and college are more supportive of equality for LGBT people than any other age-category. Equality Utah is dedicated to protecting the rights of those most vulnerable in our community.

In 2008 and again in 2011 Equality Utah passed bullying and hazing bills that created a statewide definition of bullying and hazing and outlines the minimum standards for bullying and hazing policies in local districts and charter schools. In 2011 Equality Utah added cyber bullying and verbal harassment to the list of prohibited behaviors. However, with the exception of Salt Lake School District and Park City School District, they do not enumerate, or list, characteristics that are most frequently the subject of bullying, such as race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability and religion.

As an example from GLSEN, bullying may be defined as: “written, verbal or physical conduct that adversely affects the ability of one or more students to participate in or benefit from the school’s educational programs or activities by placing the student (or students) in reasonable fear of physical harm. This includes, but is not limited to, conduct that is based on a student’s actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other distinguishing characteristics that may be defined by the state or state educational agency. This also includes association with a person or group with one or more of the abovementioned characteristics, whether actual or perceived.”

In 2017 we fought for LGBTQ youth and passed SB 196 which strikes Utah's anti-gay curriculum laws from the books, so that teachers and educators can dialogue with LGBTQ students without fear of retribution.

Additional Resources

All young people deserve a safe and affirming environment where they can learn and grow – regardless of their orientation or gender identity. 

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