Reading List: Treatment of LGBT+ Students & Topics in Schools

Sources that are commonly cited when discussing how we should treat LGBT+ students and topics in schools.

Photo from Education Week.

The sources in this list are cited in legislation and in testimony by expert, government, and advocacy organizations on legislation about how we should treat LGBT+ students and topics in schools. I organize them below by date and the different descriptive research question(s) each source is cited for.

The purpose of this list is to inform readers on what academic literature proponents and opponents are currently citing on this policy issue. For this list, academic literature includes: (1) peer-reviewed publications, (2) books by relevant scholars, (3) government reports, (4) publications by relevant non-government organizations, (5) law review articles, (6) amicus briefs, and (7) statements by relevant academic organizations. I include sources in abbreviated versions of the citation formats that were used for them in the written testimony. I plan to incorporate academic literature that is not referenced in congressional testimony after I stop finding new legislation to cover from the previous legislative session.

This list is not exhaustive. I will update it whenever I cover new legislation on this policy issue. I begin with Maryland legislation because this is where I currently live and work. If there is a U.S. State or Federal bill on this policy issue that you think I should cover, please email me at rileygraceroshong@gmail.com with more details. You can also talk to me when I stream on Twitch Monday through Thursday from 9:30 pm to 12:30 am EST (unless I announce otherwise on Twitter).

Maryland 2022 Legislative Session

HB0618: Maryland Parental Rights Act

HB0850 & SB0666: Schools, Prekindergarten Programs, and County Boards of Education — Discrimination (“The Inclusive Schools Act”)

What are school environments currently like for LGBT+ Youth?

GLSEN (2019). The 2019 National School Climate Survey: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Youth in Our Nation’s Schools.

Cited by the Mental Health Association of Maryland (MHAMD) in support of MD HB 850 to argue “Harassment for LGBTQ students doesn’t end in the classroom, with cyberbullying leading to increased discrimination and harassment. Nearly 50% of LGBTQ students have experienced electronic harassment.” They also cited this to argue “Ultimately, the vast majority of LGBTQ students (86.3%) report experiencing harassment or assault based on personal characteristics including sexual orientation and gender expression. LGBTQ students who reported more severe victimization regarding their sexual orientation or gender expression report lower levels of self-esteem and higher levels of depression. For transgender youth in particular, over 50% of all transgender and nonbinary youth in the US report seriously considering suicide at some point in their lives.”

Kosciw, J. G., Greytak, E. A., Zongrone, A. D., Clark, C. M., & Truong, N. L. (2018). The 2017 National School Climate Survey: The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth in our nation’s schools. New York: GLSEN.

Cited by FreeState Justice in support of MD HB 850 to argue “The majority of Maryland LGBTQ students regularly hear anti-LGBTQ comments in their schools, and 65% report experiencing harassment or assault based on their identity. Equally distressing, most students (54%) never reported the incident to school staff, and only 29% of students who reported incidents said it resulted in staff intervention.”

Medley, G., Lipari, R. N., Bose, J., Cribb, D. S., Kroutil, L. A., & McHenry, G. (2016, October). Sexual orientation and estimates of adult substance use and mental health: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. NSDUH Data Review.

Cited by the Maryland Alliance for Race Equity in Education (MAREE) in support of MD HB 666 to argue “People who identify as gay, bisexual, or transgender experience significant discrimination and harassment in public life, including in public school settings.”

Youth Equality Alliance. Living in the Margins: A Report on the Challenges of LGBTQ Youth in Maryland Education, Foster Care, and Juvenile Justice Systems (2014).

Cited by FreeState Justice in support of MD HB 850 to argue “The majority of LGBTQ students reported feeling unsafe in their schools (64% of LGB students and 44% of transgender students, respectively).”

Also cited by the Mental Health Association of Maryland (MHAMD) in support of MD HB 850 to argue “A majority of LGBTQ students have reported feeling unsafe in their schools (64% of lesbian, gay or bisexual students and 44% of transgender students) with over 90% of Maryland students reporting hearing their classmates use anti-LGBTQ language on a regular basis. Staff and administration may contribute to this discrimination as well, with 21% of Maryland students reporting staff using homophobic language and 26% observing school staff making negative remarks about someone’s gender expression.”

How does a hostile school climate affect LGBT+ youth academic success?

National Association of School Psychologists. (2021). Comprehensive School-Based Mental and Behavioral Health Services and School Psychologists [handout].

Cited by the Maryland Alliance for Race Equity in Education (MAREE) in favor of SB 666 to argue “Students who are gay or bisexual are more than twice as likely to report experiencing persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness than their heterosexual peers. The impact is worse for transgender students as they are twice as likely to experience depressive symptoms and seriously consider or attempt to commit suicide. These mental health stressors have been correlated with negative student outcomes.”

Ryan, R. M., Greytak, E. A., Kosciw, J. G., & Villenas, C. “Effectiveness of school district antibullying policies in improving LGBT youths’ school climate.” Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, no. 4 (2016): 407–415.

Cited by FreeState Justice in support of MD HB 850 to argue “For schools that have policies that specifically protect students against sexual and gender discrimination, LGBTQ+ students reported more feelings of safety, less victimization, and less social aggression from their peers.”

What are the benefits to teaching about HIV/AIDS in public schools?

Ethier, K. (2019). Schools are vital in the fight against youth HIV infection.

Cited by FreeState Justice against MD HB 618 to argue “On the contrary, creating barriers for youth to receive scientifically accurate medical information about HIV/AIDS does the opposite — it promotes unsafe learning environments by further stigmatizing individuals living with HIV/AIDS and deprives youth of information that could help them prevent contracting HIV.”

Ma, Z. Q, Fisher, M. A., & Kuller, L.H. (2014) School-based HIV/AIDS education is associated with reduced risky sexual behaviors and better grades with gender and race/ethnicity differences.

Cited by FreeState Justice against MD HB 618 to argue “Furthermore, allowing parents to decide whether their child can opt-in/out of education surrounding HIV and AIDS also has the potential to cause otherwise avoidable harm. Comprehensive education surrounding HIV/AIDS has been proven to increase safer sexual behaviors in youth and prevent them from contracting the virus.”

Cunningham S. D., Kerrigan D. L., Jennings J. M., & Ellen, J. M. (2009). Relationships between perceived STD-related stigma, STD-related shame and STD screening among a household sample of adolescents.

Cited by FreeState Justice against MD HB 618 to argue “This stigmatization decreases the likelihood that an individual undergoes routine HIV/AIDS or STI screenings.”

How do clear policies help prevent discrimination?

Yang, Jenny R. and Liu, Jane. “Strengthening accountability for discrimination: Confronting fundamental power imbalances in the employment relationship.” (2021). Economic Policy Institute.

Cited by FreeState Justice in support of MD HB 850 to argue “Without clear policies that provide students with procedures they can take following an experience with discrimination, it is challenging for families to protect their children. Lack of action creates a hostile school climate by allowing and empowering students to continue engaging in discriminatory behavior.”

What are the best standards for school counselors and mental health professionals handling sensitive information?

Carlson, N. Counseling Today: A Publication of the American Counseling Association (2017). To tell or not to tell: The fine line between minors’ privacy and others’ right to know. Retrieved on February 22, 2022.

Cited by the Maryland State Education Association against MD HB 618 to argue that “The sweeping notification requirements outlined in this bill lack nuance and consideration for students’ privacy, and in some cases may violate conduct standards for counselors and mental health professionals handling sensitive information.”

Ettinghoff, E. (2014). Outed at school: Student privacy rights and preventing unwanted disclosures of sexual orientation.

Cited by FreeState Justice against MD HB 618 to argue “On top of placing youth in a potentially dangerous situation, the mandated reporting of their sensitive health information, especially surrounding their sexual or gender identity, is an infringement of their privacy and autonomy.5 While other states have issued special policies and protections that would keep a child’s sexual or gender identity private in incidents related to their wellbeing (e.g., mental health complaints in school, bullying, etc.), Maryland has no such protection.”

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Riley Grace Roshong

Riley Grace Roshong

I’m a Dual JD/MPP Student. I study the advancement of evidence-based LGBT+ policy.