July 08, 2009
Pedro Julio Serrano
WASHINGTON, July 8 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund has submitted testimony to the United States House of Representatives Subcommittees on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education and Healthy Families and Communities of the Committee on Labor and Education, highlighting the destructive effect of bullying and harassment on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students and families. The Task Force Action Fund urged passage of the Safe Schools Improvement Act, which would fund school programs to prevent bullying and harassment on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.
Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund
"Schools should be places of safety, not fear. Yet, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children and young adults, children and young adults who are perceived by peers to be LGBT, and the children of LGBT parents all remain at high risk of aggressive bullying and harassment. Sadly, the nation has recently witnessed many youth suicides that were caused by aggressive and unremitting school bullying targeted at a student's actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. This year, for example, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, an 11-year-old in Massachusetts committed suicide because he faced daily and severe anti-gay bullying. As such examples demonstrate, unsafe schools can have profoundly destructive consequences.To read the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund testimony, click here.
"Bullying and harassment motivated by homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are national problems deserving of federal legislative attention. The Task Force Action Fund welcomes federal measures to increase school safety that are cognizant of the specific prejudices faced by LGBT students and families. As one such measure, we ask Congress to pass H.R. 2262, the Safe Schools Improvement Act, introduced by Rep. Linda Sanchez. The Safe Schools Improvement Act would help schools deal with bullying and harassment that target a student's actual or perceived identity or associations with persons or groups on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or religion. It would send a strong and clear message that schools have a duty to actively protect all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity."
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The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, founded in 1974 as the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc., works to build the grassroots political power of the LGBT community to win complete equality. We do this through direct and grassroots lobbying to defeat anti-LGBT ballot initiatives and legislation and pass pro-LGBT legislation and other measures. We also analyze and report on the positions of candidates for public office on issues of importance to the LGBT community. The Task Force Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) non-profit corporation incorporated in New York. Contributions to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund are not tax deductible.