MEN Logo_Men Icon Light



For Parents


"We are always looking for stakeholders, If you would like to contribute,"


John Huber


How LGBTQ+ Students Find Community and Comfort Outside of School

In Arkansas, 3 of every 4 LGBTQ+ teens report experiencing discrimination at school. This after-school art program offers a safe space.

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.

Dig Deeper With Our Longreads

Newsletter Sign up to get our best longform features, investigations, and thought-provoking essays, in your inbox every Sunday.

The MEN was founded by John Huber in the fall of 2020. It was founded to provide a platform for expert opinion and commentary on current issues that directly or indirectly affect education. All opinions are valued and accepted providing they are expressed in a professional manner. The Maryland Education Network consists of Blogs, Videos, and other interaction among the K-12 community.