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Friday, March 11, 2011

Charles Robbins: Federal Leaders Make Protecting LGBTQ Youth National Priority

Charles Robbins, Executive 
Director of The Trevor Project
By Karen Ocamb -

Charles Robbins, the Executive Director of the life-saving Trevor Project,issued a press release today commending the White House for its initiative in holding the historic anti-bullying summit. Here’s the release:
Our nation’s leaders have taken meaningful steps to protect the lives and safety of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth at all levels with today’s robust anti-bullying summit at the White House, the bicameral introductions of the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act, and Senate introduction of the Safe Schools Improvement Act earlier this week. The Trevor Project continues to work on both federal and local levels to ensure that LGBTQ young people in every corner of the country have the opportunity to safely express themselves freely and openly.
“This week, protecting LGBTQ youth from bullying and harassment to prevent higher risk behaviors, including attempting suicide, became a national priority. The Trevor Project thanks the leadership of President Obama, Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan, Senators Casey, Kirk, Franken and Lautenberg, and Representatives Rush Holt and Jared Polis for standing up for the rights of LGBTQ youth and working to change our culture to improve their lives,” said Charles Robbins, Executive Director of The Trevor Project.
Introduced today in both the Senate and the House of Representatives by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (NJ) and Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12), the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act would require colleges and universities that receive federal student aid to have a policy that prohibits harassment and cyberbullying, of students based on their actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion. It would also offer protocols that include access to mental health services should harassment take place.  Through the Act, the U.S. Department of Education would establish a new harassment prevention grant program for colleges and universities.
Re-introduced today in both the Senate and House was the Student Non-Discrimination Act, sponsored by Sen. Al Franken (MN) and Rep. Jared Polis (CO). Modeled on Title IX, the Student Non-Discrimination Act would establish a comprehensive federal prohibition against discrimination in public schools based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. It would give LGBTQ students similar civil rights protections against bullying and harassment as those that currently apply to students based on race and gender, and give schools incentive to avoid liability by protecting LGBTQ students from discrimination.
Earlier this week, the Safe Schools Improvement Act was re-introduced in the Senate by bi-partisan co-sponsors Robert Casey (PA) and Mark Kirk (IL). The Safe Schools Improvement Act would require primary and secondary schools and districts that receive designated federal funds to adopt codes of conduct specifically prohibiting bullying and harassment, including conduct based on a student’s real or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or religion. When passed, the Act would enable schools and school districts to implement effective prevention programs to better prevent and respond to incidences of bullying and harassment. It would also require that states report data on incidences of bullying and harassment to the Department of Education.
About The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth. Every day, The Trevor Project saves young lives through its free and confidential lifeline, in-school workshops, educational materials, online resources and advocacy. For more information, visit


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