ICYMI: In States with Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws, School Hate Crimes Quadrupled, Washington Post Reports; Corresponding Surge in Youth Crisis Hotline Calls

Washington Post reports that "School hate crimes targeting LGBTQ+ people have sharply risen in recent years, climbing fastest in states that have passed laws restricting LGBTQ student rights and education"

Story spotlights how in Oklahoma, where community is grieving death of 16 y/o Nex Benedict, state superintendent Ryan Walters and anti-LGBTQ+ state laws continue to create an overall unsafe environment for students

WASHINGTON - March 12, 2024 - Today, an article published in the Washington Post spotlighted the disturbing and dangerous correlation between states that pass anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and a rise in bullying and hate crimes in schools. Bills that aim to write hate into state law, through censoring or banning LGBTQ+ topics and books in the classroom, only help to affirm bullying, hate and discrimination, as evidenced in recent FBI hate crime data analyzed by the Washington Post.

The Post piece, which was written by Laura Meckler, Hannah Natanson and John D. Harden, outlines a number of disturbing facts that underscore the urgent bullying crisis across the country:

According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a third of the over 550 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in state houses last year were attacks on any form of LGBTQ+ inclusion in the classroom with a disproportionate impact on transgender youth.

At the same time, the Washington Post reports that "Calls have spiked to the Trevor Project, which provides support to LGBTQ+ youth aimed at suicide prevention and crisis intervention. In the fiscal year ending in July 2022, the group fielded about 230,000 crisis contacts, including phone calls, texts and online chats. The following year, it was more than 500,000," according to the Post article.

Nex Benedict and the Youth Mental Health Crisis in Oklahoma:

Several OK laws are foundational to fueling anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments and bullying:

The aforementioned bills had the support of the OK State Superintendent for Public Instruction Ryan Walters, who continues to peddle harmful, transphobic tropes rather than do his job to make his state's schools safer and more inclusive. In the Post piece, Walters doubled down on his anti-LGTBQ+ approach:

HRC partnered with over 350 LGBTQ+ organizations in calling for the immediate removal of Ryan Walters from his post as superintendent due to the abdication of his core responsibility to provide safe and inclusive learning environments for all students. Additionally, Chaya Raichik, founder of the anti-LGBTQ+ hate account "LibsOfTikTok," remains on Oklahoma's statewide library advisory board despite not being a resident of the state, having no formal qualification for the position, and consistently peddling hate online. In response, HRC's Oklahoma members and supporters joined with other in-state organizations and parents to send an open letter telling her to stay out of Oklahoma and resign from her position on the board.

HRC Foundation's 2023 Youth Survey Report provides further evidence that the safety of LGBTQ+ youth must be paramount for educators, school boards and administrators alike:

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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