Alex Blaze

New study on LGBTQ students in school

Filed By Alex Blaze | September 14, 2010 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: GLSEN, schools, study

GLSEN has a 10-year study out on LGBT students and safety at school:

youth-pride-boston.pngThe 2009 survey of 7,261 middle and high school students found that at school nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students experienced harassment at school in the past year and nearly two-thirds felt unsafe because of their sexual orientation. Nearly a third of LGBT students skipped at least one day of school in the past month because of safety concerns.

An analysis of National School Climate Survey data over 10 years showed that since 1999 there has been a decreasing trend in the frequency of hearing homophobic remarks; however, LGBT students' experiences with more severe forms of bullying and harassment have remained relatively constant.

Some other findings were:

  • 84.6% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 40.1% reported being physically harassed and 18.8% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation.
  • 63.7% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 27.2% reported being physically harassed and 12.5% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their gender expression.
  • 72.4% heard homophobic remarks, such as "faggot" or "dyke," frequently or often at school.
  • Nearly two-thirds (61.1%) of students reported that they felt unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation, and more than a third (39.9%) felt unsafe because of their gender expression.
  • 29.1% of LGBT students missed a class at least once and 30.0% missed at least one day of school in the past month because of safety concerns, compared to only 8.0% and 6.7%, respectively, of a national sample of secondary school students.
  • The reported grade point average of students who were more frequently harassed because of their sexual orientation or gender expression was almost half a grade lower than for students who were less often harassed (2.7 vs. 3.1).
  • Increased levels of victimization were related to increased levels of depression and anxiety and decreased levels of self-esteem.
  • Being out in school had positive and negative repercussions for LGBT students - outness was related to higher levels of victimization, but also higher levels of psychological well-being.
  • There was a steady decline in the frequency of hearing homophobic remarks from 1999 to 2003. In recent years, between 2005 and 2009, students' reports of hearing these types of remarks have not decreased significantly.
  • LGBT students' experiences of harassment and assault have remained relatively constant over time. However, there were small but significant decreases in frequencies of verbal harassment, physical harassment and physical assault from 2007 to 2009.
  • There has been an increase over time in the presence of several LGBT-related resources and supports in school, specifically: Gay-Straight Alliances or other student clubs that address LGBT issues in education; school staff who were supportive of LGBT students; and LGBT-related materials in school libraries.

Obviously these kids haven't gotten the memo yet that it's Christian students at school who are the most maligned because of anti-bullying rules that don't allow them to proselytize as they feel they need to.

The report also mentions that GSA's, supportive teachers, and anti-bullying policies help out. I went to a school with no GSA (but one started about three years after I left), teachers that were mostly silent on gay issues with a few who were directly hostile, and no anti-bullying policy that included sexual orientation or gender identity. I can only imagine what a difference those sorts of things would have made.

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It would be great to compare data from Massachusetts (48% Christian) and Oklahoma (78% Christian).

Joe-Allen Doty | September 15, 2010 1:14 AM

Oh, I live in Oklahoma and many "Christians" are the CINO type here (Christian In Name Only).

Must be those "old" Christians.

Yes, but the question remains: What can we do to solve these problems other than forming GSA groups?

Get Christians to stop TEACHING that homosexuals are wrong. That is what gives permission for kids to bully gay kids. That teaching makes them wrong or defective and until we stop that teaching we can only be "police." For too many young people we're too late.