Advocate for LGBTQ+ youth in K-12 schools

Enumerated Anti-Bullying and Harassment Policies

*Last Updated October 2023

GLSEN’s National School Climate Survey has consistently found that when LGBTQI+ youth report that their school has an anti-bullying policy that enumerates and expressly prohibit bullying and harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity, they are less likely to report they harassment and bullying. State anti-bullying laws set a standard for local education agencies and schools to adopt enumerated anti-bullying policies.

Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation that specifically prohibits bullying and harassment of students in K-12 schools based sexual orientation and gender identity. The territories of Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands have laws specifically prohibiting bullying and harassment of students based on sexual orientation only.

Three states (Hawaii, Utah, West Virginia) and the territories of Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands have regulations that protect students from bullying and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. While state regulations can set a standard at the local level, they are more easily removed or changed than state laws.

Federally, the U.S. Department of Education (ED), has communicated that publicly funded schools have an obligation to prevent and effectively respond to anti-LGBTQI+ bullying or harassment under Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on sex in federally funded educational programming and activities.** Learn more about LGBTQI+ students’ rights and how to file a complaint with ED’s Office of Civil Rights.

We continue to assess and categorize states on this map based on updates to state laws and regulations. If you see a state on this map that needs an update, please email

Source: Analysis of state policy data by GLSEN.

** In June 2021, ED issued guidance implementing the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County affirming that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in K-12 schools is prohibited under Title IX and includes failure to prevent and effectively respond to anti-LGBTQI+ bullying and harassment (Dear Educator Letter, Fact Sheet). A formal Title IX rule-making process is underway that would affirm nondiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation, gender identity, sex stereotypes, sex characteristics (including intersex traits), and pregnancy and related conditions. A rule is anticipated in 2023 with an implementation date in 2024.