Reducing Education Barriers for LGBTQ/GNC Youth

Emerging Leader Fellow: Lizzy Wingfield, 2017-2019

The Challenge: Students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, queer, questioning and gender non-conforming (LGBTQ/GNC) experience disproportionate discrimination,  harassment, and harsh discipline in school compared to their peers who are straight and cisgender.  These factors increase the risk of youth who are LGBTQ/GNC being pushed out of school and becoming involved in the juvenile justice system. While school districts in the Greater Philadelphia region have begun to address these challenges, continued state and local advocacy is needed to ensure LGBTQ/GNC students’ rights to an equal education free from discrimination.

The Project: During her Emerging Leader Fellowship, Lizzy Wingfield will work to raise awareness and support for LGBTQ/GNC youth to improve their educational outcomes.  Lizzy will partner with stakeholders to decrease exclusionary discipline practices, discriminatory incidents, and other educational barriers affecting these students.

This Emerging Leader Fellowship will enable Lizzy to:         

  • Conduct background research, including listening sessions and direct legal representation of LGBTQ/GNC youth to learn from their experiences.
  • Lead trainings for LGBTQ/GNC youth about their educational rights and facilitate discussions with education professionals about barriers these youth face and how educators can reduce discrimination and exclusionary discipline practices in schools.
  • Produce materials to promote awareness and policy change, including factsheets, issue briefs, and social media campaigns.