Equity & Diversity Video

How LGBTQ+ Students Find Community and Comfort Outside of School

By Lauren Santucci — June 15, 2023 3:59
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In 2023, more than 520 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in state legislatures across the country, according to the Human Rights Campaign. That is a record number.

Arkansas, for one, became the first state to ban gender-affirming care when Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed legislation into law in March.

That legislation succeeded even though three of every four queer students in the state reported experiencing a form of anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination at school, according to a survey by GLSEN.

The Fenix Youth Refuge Experience, an after-school program in Fayetteville, Ark., has created a safe space for these youth. Through art, students have the opportunity to express themselves and to interact with others facing similar struggles.

In this video, they discuss their experiences navigating school life, and the impact the art program has had on them personally.

Lauren Santucci
Video Producer
As a video producer, Lauren Santucci produces, films, and edits meaningful, human-interest digital video and works closely with Education Week editors and reporters. Prior to joining Education Week in 2022, she produced videos for Al Jazeera, FRONTLINE PBS, and The Texas Tribune. She has a master’s degree in visual journalism from Ohio University and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

Coverage of afterschool learning opportunities is supported in part by a grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, at www.mott.org. Education Week retains sole editorial control over the content of this coverage.


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