Study: Gay students feel safer where gay-straight alliances exist

Students identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender feel safer at schools with gay-straight alliances, according to a study by Vanderbilt University’s Peabody Research Institute.

The study found bullying reports were significantly lower at schools with the alliances. The students reported having a greater sense of personal safety as well.

Among the study’s findings, students are:

• 52 percent less likely to hear homophobic remarks

• 36 percent less likely to be fearful for their personal safety

• 30 percent less likely to experience homophobic victimization

“Compared to their straight and gender-conforming classmates, LGBTQ students are at an increased risk of victimization in high schools, and our work suggests that GSAs might be a promising solution to this problem,” said Heather Hensman Kettrey, a Peabody Research Institute researcher.

The report is an analysis of 15 independent studies where nearly 63,000 high school students were interviewed.

Gay-straight alliances are protected under the federal Equal Access Act of 1984.