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GLSEN Faces Onslaught of Attacks, Lies from Right-Wing Extremists

This week, after Target announced it was pulling some Pride merchandise from stores in response to extremist threats, GLSEN and other leading LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations released a statement calling on the business community to rise up against anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric.

Since then, right-wing media outlets have spread harmful and vicious lies about GLSEN — and these intentional and heinous attacks have spurred an onslaught of hateful messages and threats to our mission and the physical safety of our staff.

“GLSEN’s mission is to create safe, inclusive learning environments for K-12 students, and these recent attacks from right-wing extremists show how important and necessary the work that we do is,” said GLSEN Executive Director Melanie Willingham-Jaggers (they/she). “We are seeing the far right harass companies in an attempt to erase the LGBTQ+ community. We cannot let a violent, angry minority hold our democracy, our school system, or our community hostage. As GLSEN and LGBTQ+ people continue to face attacks, we’re committed to our mission and to the students that rely on us, and we’ll continue to fight to ensure that every single student can go to school free from fear.”

Here are the facts about GLSEN’s work and mission:

  • GLSEN’s work is grounded in racial justice, disability justice, and gender justice.

  • GLSEN’s Rainbow Library provides age-appropriate, inclusive literature — none of which is sexually explicit. Books are selected based on reviews from major journals, such as School Library Journal, Kirkus, and Booklist Reviews, along with feedback from hundreds of educators and school librarians.

  • All students deserve dignity and respect, and GLSEN believes that educators and administrators should call students by their preferred names and correct pronouns.

  • Supportive educators are a lifeline to students who do not have the freedom to be exactly who they are safely, and GLSEN will always fight back against policies that force educators to jeopardize student safety.

  • 81.8% of LGBTQ+ students report feeling unsafe in schools because of one of their actual or perceived characteristics.

  • GLSEN research has shown that LGBTQ+ youth are more likely to skip school due to feeling unsafe, have lower GPAs and academic achievement, and report less of a sense of belonging in school when they experience hostile school environments and are denied access to supportive teachers and inclusive curriculums.

  • 41% of LGBTQ+ young people seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year; the work that GLSEN does alongside partner organizations saves lives.



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