Youth are coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning at younger and younger ages, in middle schools and high schools across the country. Far too many face pervasive harassment and violence at school because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
Research shows that youth harassed on the basis of sexual orientation are:
While youth who are harassed report weaker connections to school and less support from teachers and other adults, research shows students with GSA clubs at their school feel safer and more supported.
According to the Preventing School Harassment Survey, students in California schools with a GSA club:
You can learn more in our Research and Reports section.
GSA clubs provide a safety net for students during the coming out process. With a GSA club, youth break through the isolation to find support from peers and school staff. GSA clubs unite LGBTQ students, straight allies, and members of the school community who are committed to making schools safer and more accepting for LGBT students.
GSAs draw on the courage of LGBTQ youth and the commitment of straight allies working in partnership to build bridges, improve school climates, and change school policies. Strong, well-supported GSAs can have a major impact on the education environment and possess the power to transform individuals, school cultures, and educational institutions.
Our overall strategy for fighting homophobia and transphobia in schools is to work with grassroots, youth-led groups and GSAs, empowering them to educate their school communities, advocate for just policies that protect LGBTQ youth from harassment and violence, and organize in coalition with other youth groups across identity lines to address broader issues of oppression.
All of our work with students focuses on leadership development and activism that prioritizes building alliances not only across sexual orientation and gender identity lines, but also across race, ethnicity, and class lines, and our resources and trainings are designed to facilitate coalition building. Our programs benefit our constituents in three critical ways: