The benefits of a Gay-Straight Alliance

With the rise of controversy around Gay-Straight Alliances (GSA) in Tennessee, past and present research shows the benefits of gay youth attending a school with a GSA.

Previous research already shows that GLBT youth have more problems with depression, suicide, self-harm and other mental health difficulties compared to their heterosexual counterparts. One of the significant ways to decrease these mental health problems is by attending a school with a GSA. Studies have also shown that GLBT youth who attend high schools with GSAs have lower levels of suicidality.

The literature in this area is growing each year, and researchers have already found that GSAs are associated with less at-school victimization, one of the leading predictors of suicidality. While the literature is growing, there are still more questions to ask about the benefits of GSAs.

Researchers at the University of Montana conducted a study to expand the research on potential benefits of attending a high school with a Gay-Straight Alliance, specifically looking into whether a GSA was connected to less at-school victimization, problematic alcohol use, depression, and general psychological distress compared to GLBT persons who attended a school without a GSA. After examining all the prior research, the researchers found that problematic drinking and other forms of psychopathology were not examined in prior research.

The study, published in the June 2011 issue of School Psychology Quarterly, found that students who had GSAs at their schools reported more school belonging and less at-school victimization versus LGBT students who did not have GSAs. Additionally, these students who did not have GSAs at their schools had more problems with drinking and psychological distress.

“Previous research indicates that LGBT youth experience greater rates of at-school victimization than their heterosexual peers,” lead author Nicholas Heck tells Out and About Newspaper, “and this victimization is in turn related to psychological distress, suicide, and substance misuse.” Heck is a PhD candidate in Clinical Psychology at the University of Montana.

“Our findings are important,” he adds, “because they identify an environmental factor, GSAs, that appears to help reduce these risks.”

Heck and his fellow researchers have recommended that schools should support the establishment of GSAs and integrate information about sexual orientation and gender identity into education curricula in efforts reduce the risks GLBT youth experience at school. The group also recommends establishing anti-bullying policies that affect GLBT youth, as these policies can create a better environment for students lessening the amount of bullying-related suicides that have occurred in Tennessee and many other states.

“Our government and schools need to provide more support for GLBT students,” Heck says. “This includes adopting anti-bullying policies that specifically protect GLBT students, fostering the development of school curricula that is inclusive of GLBT issues, and establishing school-based groups for GLBT students and their allies. If this were to occur, we would likely see a decline in depression, suicide, and substance misuse among LGBT youth in our nation.”

Tennessee can take a step forward by adopting these types of policies for the safely and support of GLBT youth in its schools; however, it is still unclear how many school systems would be open to these ideas.

Source: Heck, Nicholas C. with Annesa Flentje and Bryan N. Cochran. “Offsetting Risks: High School Gay-Straight Alliances and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Youth.” School Psychology Quarterly June 2011, Vol. 26 No. 2: 161-174.

Photo by Margo Amala on Unsplash

The Best Cannabis Edibles for 2023

Disclaimer: Please note there are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, we may earn a commission if you make a purchase.

I think we’ve all been there back in the day when we smoked our first joint, and then some, (sorry mom)–hacking, coughing, and choking on the herbaceous weed. Nowadays, there are several products on the market that produces the same effects but without a sore throat like the popular cannabis edibles.

Keep readingShow less
a person holding a padlock in front of a window

As an LGBTQ+ patient, you should be able to expect the same high-quality care provided to all patients. Unfortunately, this doesn’t necessarily always prove to be the case. There remains a notoriously significant disparity in healthcare outcomes for LGBTQ+ patients, often related to issues with discrimination among providers.

Even when you find a good physician, this doesn’t mean that everyone interacting with your healthcare information will be as respectful or responsible. It is, therefore, important to be vigilant about how your data is handled. You have a right to privacy just as you have an expectation of fair treatment.

Keep readingShow less

National Margarita Day

A lot of us have really picked up an interest in tequila and it's no wonder. Its popularity is soaring in the U.S. and doesn't look like it'll be slowing down any time soon. The only contender would probably be whiskey. Meh, but they have their own day. Now, it's National Margarita Day and we put together some of the best margarita recipes around so you can pick one or maybe even all of them to try.

We have a few surprises in there too. Maybe it's not all about tequila but it certainly has a theme going on. Take a look at some of these great tequila brands and start making some amazing margaritas today!

Keep readingShow less