Recent Hate Crimes Highlight Need to Teach Respect as Students Commemorate Transgender Day of Rememb

NEW YORK, Nov. 20, 2009 – GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is proud to support students and Gay-Straight Alliances across the country participating in the 11th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance today to bring attention to bullying based on gender identity/expression and to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice.

“Transgender Day of Remembrance offers students a chance to raise awareness about the bullying, harassment and violence many transgender and gender nonconforming people face in schools and society, something that unfortunately is all too timely after news of the recent murders of Jorge Stephen Lopez Mercado in Puerto Rico and Jason Matteson, Jr. in Baltimore,” GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard said. “During such a somber time, it is inspiring to see so many Gay-Straight Alliances engaging with students about how important it is that all students are safe in school.”

Student participation ranges from candle light vigils to school assemblies to transgender-inclusive school trainings to wearing supportive stickers and armbands.

The importance of Transgender Day or Remembrance is underscored by Harsh Realities: The Experiences of Transgender Students in School, a GLSEN report released earlier this year.

Harsh Realities found that:

  • Two-thirds of transgender students felt unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation (69%) and how they expressed their gender (65%).

  • Almost all transgender students had been verbally harassed (e.g., called names or threatened) in the past year at school because of their sexual orientation (89%) and gender expression (87%).

  • More than half of all transgender students had been physically harassed (e.g., pushed or shoved) in school in the past year because of their sexual orientation (55%) and gender expression (53%).

  • More than a quarter of transgender students had been physically assaulted (e.g., punched, kicked or injured with a weapon) in school in the past year because of their sexual orientation (28%) and gender expression (26%).

  • Most transgender students (54%) who were victimized in school did not report the events to school authorities. Among those who did report incidents to school personnel, few students (33%) believed that staff addressed the situation effectively.

About GLSEN
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN’s research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit
www.glsen.org.