October 01, 2010

>U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Releases Statement on Recent LGBT Youth Tragedies

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For the past eighteen months, GLSEN has worked closely with federal agencies, including the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services and Justice, and with Congress to enlist their help in combatting the impact of anti-LGBT bias and bullying in our schools.

From meetings with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to the Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Summit to endless visits in the halls of Congress, GLSEN has been there day in and day out to ensure that our issues were represented and our voices were heard. And now, in a time of crisis, we were in a position to make our voice heard once again, calling for Secretary Duncan to speak out in support of LGBT youth.

Today, he answered that call. There remains much more to be done. We must ensure passage of the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act. We must make sure that the federal government collects data that allows us to track progress in this crucial fight. And we must ensure that all federal engagement with schools continues to reflect the fact that young LGBT lives matter.Thank you for standing with us.

Said Duncan:

This week, we sadly lost two young men who took their own lives for one unacceptable reason: they were being bullied and harassed because they were openly gay or believed to be gay. These unnecessary tragedies come on the heels of at least three other young people taking their own lives because the trauma of being bullied and harassed for their actual or perceived sexual orientation was too much to bear.

This is a moment where every one of us — parents, teachers, students, elected officials, and all people of conscience — needs to stand up and speak out against intolerance in all its forms. Whether it’s students harassing other students because of ethnicity, disability or religion; or an adult, public official harassing the President of the University of Michigan student body because he is gay, it is time we as a country said enough. No more. This must stop.

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