Students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) are at risk for harassment due to their sexual orientation or gender identification. Over 85% of LGBT students report such harassment (Biegel & Keuhl, 2010). Such statistics demonstrate the significance of the issue, and K-16 school policies in the United States regarding safety of LGBT students in the school climate and inclusion in the curriculum have been debated due to the strong concern for these students. Even though US educational organizations have called for change and laws have been established in the majority of states protecting students from bullying, only a few states have detailed the particular areas of discrimination such as LGBT. State and local policies across the US vary in whether or not sexual orientation is specifically listed in bullying policy observed by school administrators. K-16 policies at the local level are explored with a focus on the neutrality policy resulting in silence and more discrimination through the practice of heteronormativity. An argument is established for a standard bullying policy in all US school districts to include anti-LGBT behavior.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) characters do exist in children’s and young adult literature, yet there is a lack of classroom exposure to such literature. Educational organizations have realized the need for dispelling prejudices about LGBT people by including such texts in the classroom as well as discussions regarding LGBT themes and characters in the books. Yet the practice of simply including diverse texts without discussing LGBT issues could cause greater marginalization for students because the silence regarding LGBT issues and characters encourages the practice of heteronormativity. This inquiry examined a range of children’s and adolescent books that could be used in classroom discussions to develop insight about LGBT themes and characters in order to understand if the texts were saturated with LGBT themes and characters to the point that teachers and students could not avoid the LGBT factors while reading.