UCLA’s Williams Institute estimates there are 3.5 million LGBTQ students in the U.S., and 300,000 of them identify as transgender. As you can see in the chart below, the number of people identifying as LGBT increases with younger generations.
Some scholars suggest that the number of students who identify as LGBTQ is growing due to more widespread acceptance of gender and sexuality diversity in young people, as well as after the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision to recognize same-sex marriage in Obergefell v Hodges.
Additionally, it is estimated that 2-3.7 million children are being raised by at least one GSM (gender or sexual minority) parent. Given these figures, it is likely that you have LGBTQ students in school, or you have students with family members who are part of the LGBTQ community.
Throughout this module, we use the term LGBTQ most often (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, and Queer). While this does not cover all of the possible gender identity, gender expression, and sexuality designations that people use or wish to use, it is our intention to be inclusive of all identities. In some cases, SGM, or “sexuality and gender minority” is a term used to connote the same characteristics of any LGBTQ+ identity. Some of the research or resources will reference just LGB or LGBT, which is likely because the survey or study was not able to capture all possible identities of its participants.
A note about transgender students: There is consensus among academic researchers that, despite known higher risks that transgender persons face due to stigmatization and bias, the literature lacks sufficient investigation into the specific needs, risks, and moderating responses for this population. Scholars and advocates call for more research and attention for these especially vulnerable students. In the next unit, we’ll hear more about creating safe spaces for transgender and non-binary students, specifically.
When it comes to gender and sexuality, terms and descriptions shift and evolve in response to new understandings and individual preferences. Please review this guide from NPR, offering a good overview of some of the more common terms used for and by the LGBTQ community: https://www.npr.org/2021/06/02/996319297/gender-identity-pronouns-expression-guide-lgbtq