This research brief documents that students in California report significant harassment at school because they do not conform to gender expectations and stereotypes. Such harassment is reported by many students, and is more often reported by students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). The brief documents that gender non-conformity based harassment is more common in schools that lack inclusive anti-harassment policies, teacher intervention when harassment occurs, and curriculum focused on LGBT issues.

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In a survey of over 2,400 California students, many reported harassment at school due to gender non-conformity. Figure 1 shows that 23% of California students reported being harassed because they were not “as masculine as other guys” or “as feminine as other girls.” Gender non-conformity-based harassment is more pervasive for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students than for heterosexual students: 42% of students who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) and 62% of those who identify as transgender report harassment based on gender non-conformity. Furthermore, 14% of all students, 27% of LGB students, and 57% of transgender students report being harassed because of gender non-conformity more than once.