March 29, 2023

Reps. Takano and Lee, Sen. Schatz Introduces Resolution to Demand Equal Opportunity, Civil Rights Protections, and Freedom from Erasure for LGBTQI+ Youth in K-12 Schools

Washington, DC – Today, Reps. Mark Takano (CA-39), Barbara Lee (CA-12), and Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) released a statement after introducing a resolution to support the Rise Up for LGBTQI+ Youth in School Initiative. This resolution was cosponsored by Senator Wyden

At only three months in, this has been the worst legislative year for the LGBTQI+ community on record. The national public discourse over the rights of LGBTQI+ individuals has had a particularly severe impact on young members of the community, and LGTBQI+ students are more likely than their peers to experience anxiety, depression, and other mental health impacts. Many LGBTQI+ students considered dropping out because of the hostile climate created by school policies and practices, and in the last year nearly half (46%) of LGBTQI+ young people seriously considered suicide.

As Members of Congress, we demand the best possible future for all young people in schools. The Rise Up Resolution calls for an end to the victimization and erasure of LGBTQI+ people in education by promoting comprehensive policies that empower educators to affirm all students, emphasizing inclusive curriculum that promotes visibility and representation of all communities, and supporting youth leadership initiatives. The message from Congress must be made clear: no young person deserves to feel that they are worth less than anyone else, and all students deserve to go to a school where they will be affirmed, protected, and given the opportunity to thrive.

“As state legislatures across the nation attempt to pass laws to censor and discriminate against the LGBTQI+ community, it is now more important than ever that we demand basic civil rights protections for queer students in our schools,” said Rep. Mark Takano, Co-Chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus. “Every young person should be able to go to school free of the fear of their basic civil and educational rights being denied in the classroom. It is time that we stand up and call out the harms of anti-LGBTQI+ education bills.”

“With the alarming rise in anti-LGBTQI+ legislation across the country, extremists are playing politics with our children’s lives. These hateful policies create a hostile atmosphere for young people already facing statistically high mental health challenges, with nearly half of LGBTQI+ young people having seriously considered suicide. I urge colleagues to support this resolution to ensure all students feel safe, affirmed, and given the chance to thrive,” said Rep. Barbara Lee.

“Every child should feel safe at school,” said Senator Schatz. “As attacks against LGBTQ+ students increase across the country, we need to take action to protect these students and fight back against the discriminatory policies that harm them. Our resolution pledges support to LGBTQ+ students, and makes clear this discrimination will not be tolerated in the Congress.”

“LGBTQ+ students across the U.S. are facing attacks from right-wing extremists who are intent on silencing, excluding, and erasing them,” said GLSEN Executive Director Melanie Willingham-Jaggers. “Lawmakers are meant to be working in the best interests of all of their communities, but instead, some are using kids as political pawns. I applaud Senator Schatz, Representative Takano, and Representative Lee for leading the resolution and rising in support of LGBTQ+ youth and policies that promote safe and inclusive schools."

Text to the resolution can be found here.

A full list of endorsements, and more about the Rise Up Initiative can be found here.