Butler Joins Schatz In Resolution Calling Out Attacks On LGBTQI+ Students, Urging Communities To Protect Kids

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.) joined Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and her Senate colleagues in introducing a resolution calling out the attacks on LGBTQI+ students in schools and urging communities across the country to demand equal educational opportunities, basic civil rights, and freedom from erasure for all students in K-12 schools.

“This resolution challenges all of us to rise up against hatred and take a stand to protect LGBTQ+ students,” said Senator Butler. “From book bans to discriminatory attacks by state legislators, LGBTQ+ students are constantly told they are not allowed to be who they are. We must fight for their freedom to exist, to take up space, and to be unapologetically themselves.”

“Every child deserves to feel safe at school,” said Senator Schatz. “As attacks against LGBTQI+ students are on the rise 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 LGBTQI+ students, and makes clear this discrimination will not be tolerated in the Congress.”

The resolution coincides with the National Day of (No) Silence taking place on April 12, when LGBTQI+ students and allies around the country will protest the harassment and discrimination of LGBTQI+ people in schools. Since the beginning of the 2024 legislative session, at least 55 bills have been introduced in 22 states targeting LGBTQI+ youth in schools. This has a particularly severe impact as LGBTQI+ youth are more likely than their peers to experience anxiety, depression, and other mental health impacts.

“LGBTQ+ youth are under relentless attack each and every day from state legislatures to their school hallways. Queer and trans youth have a right to feel safe, to be their authentic selves, and to live joyous lives. They are our future, and I am with them in the fight for safety, equality, and justice,” said Senator Markey.

“Our communities are at their strongest when everyone can live freely as their authentic self, without fear of discrimination,” said Senator Merkley, author of the Equality Act. “As attacks on LGBTQ+ people—and particularly on LGBTQ+ students—continue in the halls of state legislatures across the country, Congress needs to protect our students’ civil rights and send a clear message: discrimination has no place here.”

“Schools should be a place where students feel safe to learn and grow – but for too many LGBTQ+ kids, their classroom is a site of harassment and bullying,” said Senator Blumenthal. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in rejecting discriminatory policies in schools and standing in support of LGBTQ+ students and educators.”

“No one—especially our keiki—should have to live in fear for simply existing as their authentic self,” said Senator Hirono. “Policies, such as book and curriculum bans, that target LGBTQ+ youth have no place in our country. I’m proud to join this resolution, reiterating our commitment to combatting discrimination and supporting LGBTQ+ students in schools across the U.S., so they can learn and grow in environments where they feel safe, seen, and protected.”

“As far-right wing extremists continue to increasingly attack LGBTQ+ communities in Oregon and nationwide, we need to ensure no child, including LGBTQ+ children, are threatened and put in harm’s way,” said Senator Wyden. “This Senate resolution is our commitment to making sure that LGBTQ+ children have a safe and stable environment at school. Like I have throughout my entire career, I will continue to protect and support the rights of LGBTQ+ people so that they can thrive both inside and outside the classroom.”

The resolution is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai‘i), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). A similar resolution was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by U.S. Representatives Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Mark Takano (D-Calif.). The resolution is endorsed by GLSEN.

“With the rise of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in the last year, it is clear that queer youth need our help,” said Representative Lee, Vice Chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus. “GOP extremists are using the lives of this vulnerable population as political tools at the expense of their mental health and well-being. I am proud to stand with Congressman Takano and Senator Schatz to re-introduce the Rise Up for LGBTQI+ Youth in School Initiative. For the sake of our children’s lives, it is imperative for my colleagues to support this resolution to ensure their safety and success in school.”

“As a former teacher, I know that school shouldn’t be about just surviving — it should be about thriving,” said Representative Takano, Co-Chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus. “LGBTQ students across the country who are being targeted by this wave of culture war politics are being denied safety in the educational institutions that are supposed to support them. We need to protect LGBTQ student’s right to thrive, to find joy in learning, to discover their passions, and to embark on the rest of their lives in educational settings that support and affirm them. We have to do better and those in power must demand it.”

“This year has already been marked by tragic reminders of the persistent bullying and harassment faced by LGBTQI+ students, especially as extremists at every level of government continue to pursue discriminatory policies that exclude youth from equitable access to educational opportunity,” said Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, Executive Director of GLSEN. “We must reject the politics of hate and division. Today, individuals across the country – including students, educators, activists, and allies – are coming together for GLSEN’s annual Day of (No) Silence to fight back against bullying and harassment in schools. I applaud Senator Schatz, Representative Takano, and Representative Lee for their sustained leadership in rising up for LGBTQI+ youth by leading this resolution and showing up with full faith in the boundless potential of the next generation.”

The full text of the resolution is available here.


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