NWLC Responds to Extremist Attacks on GLSEN

(Washington, D.C.) 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, extremist 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 their mission and the physical safety of their staff.

The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), along with 18 other organizations, has also called on Target and all businesses to pledge solidarity to LGBTQ people, following Target’s decision to remove some Pride merchandise from its stores in response to far-right mobilization.

The following is a statement by Emily Martin, Vice President for Education and Workplace Justice at NWLC:

“As we enter Pride month and there are more visible signs of support, there is also a rise in attacks on LGBTQI+ people and a dangerous attempt to deny LGBTQI+ people their right to celebrate and simply exist. NWLC calls on everyone working for gender and social justice, including employers and businesses, to fight against harmful lies and threats targeting GLSEN and the LGBTQI+ community. It’s more important than ever to uphold our values of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and refuse to cave to extremist lies and ideologies.”

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.