Often, LGBT students also lacked teacher role models.
In the absence of employment protections, many LGBT teachers said they feared backlash from parents or adverse employment consequences if they were open about their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Social pressures are part of the school experience of many students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
But the experience can be particularly difficult for LGBT students, who often struggle to make sense of their identities, lack support from family and friends, and encounter negative messaging about LGBT people at school and in their community.
In some districts, this silence was exacerbated by state law.