STUDY: Gay-Straight Alliances Make Students Gayer (As In Happier)

The Family Acceptance Project interviewed 245 LGBT young adults, ages 21–25, about the presence of gays-straight alliances at their schools and found that GSAs helped students have lower rates of depression, drug abuse and dropping out and improved self-esteem and chances of college entry. The only downside?

Basically, schools with lots of anti-LGBT bullying cancel out any positive GSA effects. In order to help GSA affiliated students, such schools need anti-bullying policies as well. It also helps if you have a principal that won’t beat you up or expel you for trying to set up a GSA.

Image via Tulane Public Relations

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  • Daddles

    I’m not sure how many T students they interviewed out of the lgbT students, but I’ve never felt accepted at a GSA. Some of the most transphobic comments I’ve heard have been from the mouths of GSA participants. In my experiences with numerous GSAs, the usual gay victims play bully to the gender variant.

    I would assume that no/few trans people were interviewed, and that this study really only applies to gay and lesbian students.

  • Dan

    Thank goodness for the wonderful, thoughtful straight allies who are involved and who support dignity and equality for their GLBT peers.

  • Nixon's head

    @Dan: I second that. Supportive straight people have helped me through tough times.

  • corvidae

    @Daddles: Clearly transphobia in schools needs to be dealt with just as firmly as homophobia. I would prefer we had something more generic than gay straight alliances in schools, to help include bi/trans/questioning children.
    This study probably didn’t include any of these, but is still a good step forward, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

  • Bao

    @Daddles: I’m so sorry to hear that. That is why I think it is important that your presence in the GSA is necessary. I think transphobia can’t be solved in one day, but it take a great junk of time for people to start understanding that any type of discrimination is cruel and unjust. I think you should keep attending the GSA at your school and get your voice be heard. Best of luck!

  • Marti

    @Daddles: I am sorry this has been your experience. Trans people are an important part of the community a GSA intends to support. I am a co-sponsor of a high school GSA in Illinois. We have had four self-identified trans people “come out” in the safety of our group; two became leaders of our club. We are participating in Transgender Remembrance Day by posting on the hallway walls stories of individuals lost to murder due to their gender identity, are boothing to sign up supporters, and will hold our second annual vigil honoring those lost to hate. We even got the subject into our local newspaper. I wish someone could have done this for you in high school. Sending support “vibes”.

  • Henry

    I’m also sorry to hear that trannies are underrepresented in the “many” GSA’s he/she/it has attended, the number of high schools being equal to the number of nipples he has. If gay people didn’t run the world, I’d suspect it was a gay conspiracy to keep transfolks out of our tightly knit social circles.

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