APA Letter of Support for the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA)

April 18, 2013

Senator Al Franken     
309 Hart Senate Office Building    
Washington, DC 20510

Congressman Jared Polis
1433 Longworth House Office Building  
Washington, DC 20515    

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
2206 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515


Dear Senator Franken and Representatives Polis and Ros-Lehtinen:

On behalf of the 137,000 members and affiliates of the American Psychological Association (APA), I am writing to express support of the Student Non-Discrimination Act of 2013. This important legislation would make critical progress towards protecting the psychological and physical health of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth and ensuring safe and equal educational opportunities for all students. 

APA is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. Comprised of researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and graduate students, APA works to advance psychology as a science, a profession, and a means of promoting health, education and human welfare. The APA's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns Office (LGBTCO) advances psychology as a means of improving the health and well-being of LGBT people, of increasing understanding of gender identity and sexual orientation as aspects of human diversity, and of reducing stigma, prejudice, discrimination and violence toward LGBT people.

Based upon current scientific evidence related to the pervasiveness and consequences of bullying and discrimination against LGBT youth, APA strongly supports this bill.  Research shows that students who are bullied or harassed suffer academically and experience numerous other negative physical and psychological effects. LGBT students are especially likely to be targeted for bullying and are therefore particularly likely to experience these adverse academic and psychological outcomes. The Student Non-Discrimination Act would provide protection against harassment and discrimination for students in federally funded schools based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. It would also provide aggrieved students with legal recourse in the event of discrimination and harassment. 

By prohibiting discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender identity, we can protect the health and well-being of LGBT youth and make our schools safer, more productive places to learn for all students. If we can be of assistance, please contact Leo Rennie, Senior Legislative & Federal Affairs Officer, in our Public Interest Government Relations Office at (202) 336-5110.

Sincerely,

Gwendolyn Puryear Keita, PhD
Executive Director
Public Interest Directorate