When it comes to being a LGBTQ+ youth in the United States, there's no question that some states are worse than others. Well, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) analyzed the 2013 results for the worst states in America to be young and gay, and states like Missouri, South Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky, and Oklahoma topped the charts in a bad way — to no one's surprise.
GLSEN used three different markers from the National School Climate Survey to analyze the severity of the situation: percentage of students experiencing verbal harassment, percentage experiencing physical harassment, and percentage experiencing physical assault. Even the states that came in as having the least verbal harassment of the 29 that were surveyed, Washington and Massachusetts, reported that about 60 percent of middle and high school students experienced some sort of verbal harassment. In the worst states, like South Carolina and Missouri, that number was closer to 90 percent. Tennessee and Kentucky had the highest reported rates of physical violence, coming in at 48 and 47 percent, and Alabama was where the highest percentage of students experienced one or more physical assaults, at 28 percent.
While these markers are important in determining LGBTQ+ safety in schools across the country, other aspects should be factored into determining what makes a school LGBTQ+ friendly or not, like school policies, disciplinary measures for students doing the harassing, and diversity training for faculty and staff. While these results look a little better than the 2012 results, The United States still has a long way to go.