APA supports efforts to end discrimination against LGBT individuals in schools

The Student Non-Discrimination Act will help protect the psychological and physical health of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.

Joining more than 82 national and state organizations, APA sent a letter to members of Congress on April 18 urging them to support H.R. 1652, the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA). Introduced by Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), SNDA would help protect public school students from bullying, harassment and discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The six co-chairs of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus joined as original co-sponsors of the bill. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) is expected to introduce a companion bill in the U.S. Senate soon.

The legislation would make critical progress toward protecting the psychological and physical health of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth and ensuring safe and equal educational opportunities for all students. While LGBT individuals have achieved significant human rights gains in recent years, discrimination in educational settings remains a problem. Federal law does not protect students from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Only 15 states protect students against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; 14 of these states extend the same protections to gender identity.