Governor Hickenlooper signs anti-bullying bill into law

On Friday, May 13, as dozens of youth stood watching, Governor John Hickenlooper signed into law a bill protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students from the bullying, harassment, name-calling, and violence that they face far too often. This law is a tremendous step toward ensuring that LGBT young people can be out, safe and respected in school.

This law is an incredible and historic victory for our community. It is the first law protecting LGBT people that have ever been passed in Colorado with Republican leadership in one of the chambers. For the first time ever, both Democrats and Republicans were willing to boldly stand up to protect LGBT youth.

In addition to protecting LGBT young people, the law clearly defines bullying, requires each school district to adopt comprehensive anti-bullying policies, and creates a grant program to which schools can apply in order to fund anti-bullying programs.

While this law will help improve the environment for LGBT students in Colorado schools, our work is not yet done. A law alone won’t change the torment and isolation that LGBT young people are facing. That’s why we’ve hired a Youth Organizer to work together with youth to make their schools safe.

Our Youth Organizer will work directly with students across the state—students like a young man in southwest Colorado who was taunted for having two mothers. He was verbally harassed and physically attacked. Despite attempts by his mothers to work with teachers and school administrators, nothing was done to ensure that he was protected. And in the end, the family was forced to move to another district.

Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students are verbally bullied in school. More than forty percent of LGBT young people are physically harassed. Seven out of ten regularly hear homophobic remarks such as “faggot” or “dyke.” But together, we can change these statistics.

With the signing of this bill, we took an important step toward ensuring that our schools are safe. Now, the work continues. Onward!