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  • Writer's pictureLisa Dixon-Wells

Together, we can Make our Schools a Safer, More Welcoming Place for LGBTQ+ Students

Updated: Mar 20

LGBTQ Students in Schools

This PowerPoint presentation by Dr. Kristopher Wells, the highly respected Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Sexual and Gender Minority Youth Issues, reveals just how pervasive and damaging bullying towards LGBTQ students, and children of same-sex parents, really is.

A few key points (LGBTQ+ Student Stats):

  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning ideation and activity can start by age 13 years.¹

  • By grades 9-12, 8% of students identify as LGBTQ.³

  • 61.3% of students with one or more LGBTQ parents reported feeling unsafe at school.²

  • 1 in 5 (21%) of LGBTQ students report being harassed or assaulted.²

  • Students identified locker rooms, washrooms, and hallways as dangerous spaces in schools.²

  • Fewer LGBTQ students complete high school (68% v. 78%) and apply for postsecondary programs (54% v. 68%) compared to heterosexual peers.³

  1. Youth Chances, a 5-year project to survey the experience of LGBTQ youth in England.

  2. Egale National Climate Survey on Homophobia and Transphobia in Canadian Schools.

  3. Toronto District School Board Student Census

If we are going to help these students feel safe on school grounds, online and in after school activities – and go on to thrive in their lives and careers – I believe we need to begin embedding values of inclusion and respect as soon as children enter our school systems.

The Dare to Care program’s approach to addressing discrimination and harassment includes the following:

  • The foundation of our program is transforming the “silent majority” into the “caring majority,” so that students aren’t just safe in a classroom where a teacher or staff member is present; they are safer from bullying behavior in every area of their school and online.

  • The concept of discrimination, including discrimination based on one’s gender identity, is introduced to students in our K-2 program and we build upon that foundation with every subsequent grade level.

  • Bullying and harassment based on one’s sexual orientation are discussed with students beginning with Grades 5-6.

  • Our virtual program format has enabled us to expand our content on discrimination and harassment, and our virtual program packages give schools a full year of access to this content so it can be revisited as often as needed.

  • Our program includes activities and discussion questions that help awaken empathy and raise awareness of the lasting impact bullying behavior can have on a target’s heart and life.

I invite you to watch how we introduce the concept of discrimination to K-2 students in the short excerpt from our virtual program (below). Your school can purchase a year of access to our schoolwide virtual program for K-6 here and K-9 here. For questions, reach out to me at

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