Sexuality: Co-Facilitation Session
For this assignment, students will complete the following tasks:
Gay-Straight Alliances, Inclusive Policy, and School Climate: LGBTQ
Youths’ Experiences of Social Support and Bullying
Jack K. Day and Jessica N. Fish University of Texas at Austin
Arnold H. Grossman New York University
Stephen T. Russell University of Texas at Austin
Gay-Straight Alliances (GSA) and school policies focused on support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning youth may reduce bias-based bullying and enhance social supports in schools. Using multivariate regression, we tested the relationship between youth reports of the presence of GSAs and LGBTQ-focused policies, independently and mutually, with experiences bullying and perceived support (n = 1,061). Youth reported higher class- mate support in the presence of GSAs and higher teacher support in the presence of LGBTQ-focused policies; the pres- ence of both GSAs and LGBTQ-focused policies was associated with less bullying and higher perceived classmate and teacher support. The findings indicate that GSAs and LGBTQ-focused policies are distinctly and mutually important for fostering safer and more supportive school climates for youth.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/ questioning (LGBTQ) youth often navigate more hostile school climates than their heterosexual, cis- gender peers. Youth who are bullied because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gen- der identity are at higher risk of poorer mental health and academic outcomes (Sinclair, Bauman, Poteat, Koenig, & Russell, 2012), and of engaging in risky behaviors and substance use (Russell, Sin- clair, Poteat, & Koenig, 2012). Creating safer and
more supportive school climates has emerged as a shared concern of school staff and administrators, researchers, and policymakers (Goodenow, Sza- lacha, & Westheimer, 2006; Hatzenbuehler, Birkett, Van Wagenen, & Meyer, 2014; Russell, Kosciw, Horn, & Saewyc, 2010; Russell & McGuire, 2008).
Schools are an especially important site of study, as they serve as fundamental developmental con- texts in which youth spend a majority of their time outside of their family environment (Eccles & Roe- ser, 2011; Steinberg & Morris, 2001). Prior research underscores that positive school climates, which include feelings of safety and the presence of supportive relationships between students and teach- ers, are essential for a range of health and wellbeing- related outcomes (Cohen, McCabe, Michelli, & Pickeral, 2009; McNeely, Nonnemaker, & Blum, 2002; Thapa, Cohen, Guffey, & Higgins-D’Alessandro, 2013). Concerningly, bullying and harassment are common in schools across the United States, with 21% of students reporting having been bullied at school within the last year (Lessne & Cidade, 2015).
Teachers are instrumental to creating positive school climates. Positive teacher–student relation- ships are associated with greater school engage- ment and better academic performance, and overall better social-emotional well-being (Eccles & Roeser, 2011; NRC/IOM, 2004). Teachers also serve as the
This research uses data from the Risk and Protective Factors for Suicide among Sexual Minority Youth study, designed by Arnold H. Grossman and Stephen T. Russell, and supported by Award Number R01MH091212 from the National Institute of Mental Health. Administrative support for this research was also provided by grant R24HD042849, Population Research Center, awarded to the Population Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Insti- tute of Child Health and Human Development. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Mental Health. The authors acknowledge the site coordinators, staff of the community organizations, and leaders of college groups who cooperated in recruiting participants. We also express our gratitude to the study’s participants for sharing their experiences with us. The authors also acknowledge generous support from the Communities for Just Schools Fund Project at the New Ven- ture Fund, the Priscilla Pond Flawn Endowment at the Univer- sity of Texas at Austin, and support for Fish from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism grant F32AA023138. Requests for reprints should be sent to Jack K. Day, Depart-
ment of Human Development and Family Sciences, Population Research Center, University of Texas at Austin, 305 E. 23rd St., Stop G1800, Austin, TX 78712. E-mail: [email protected]
© 2019 Society for Research on Adolescence
JOURNAL OF RESEARCH ON ADOLESCENCE, 30(S2), 418–430
nexus between the implementation of school poli- cies and direct interactions with students (Cohen et al., 2009). School context becomes even more important when we consider the health and well- being of LGBTQ youth, as they are more likely to experience school-based harassment, victimization, and bullying than their cisgender and heterosexual peers (Day, Perez-Brumer, & Russell, 2018; Toomey & Russell, 2016).
School-sponsored programs such as Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs; also known as Gender and Sexu- ality Alliances) and school policies focused on sup- port for LGBTQ students (LGBTQ-focused policies) have also been identified as effective means for improving school climates, especially for LGBTQ youth (Chesir-Teran & Hughes, 2009; Fetner & Ela- fros, 2015; Goodenow et al., 2006; Heck, Flentje, & Cochran, 2013; Kosciw, Greytak, Giga, Villenas, & Danischewski, 2016; Marx & Kettrey, 2016; McGuire, Anderson, Toomey, & Russell, 2010). Enumerated antibullying policies that are inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity are asso- ciated with stronger feelings of safety, less victim- ization (Kosciw et al., 2016; O’Shaughnessy, Russell, Heck, Calhoun, & Laub, 2004), and lower rates of suicidal behavior among LGB youth (Hatzenbuehler & Keyes, 2013). GSAs and LGBTQ–focused policies are also associated with less psychological distress and depressive symp- toms, and greater general well-being, among LGBTQ youth during adolescence (Goodenow et al., 2006; Heck et al., 2013; Toomey, Ryan, Diaz, & Russell, 2011; Walls, Kane, & Wisneski, 2010) and later in young adulthood (Toomey et al., 2011). However, the mechanisms through which GSAs and policies, especially policies related to sexual orientation and gender identity, contribute to posi- tive school climate are not well-understood (Poteat & Russell, 2013).
In this study, we propose that GSAs and LGBTQ-focused policies are associated with less bullying and stronger social support from multiple sources in schools – such as classmates and teach- ers – for LGBTQ youth. This study provides a novel contribution to existing literature on school experiences of LGBTQ youth, as we investigate whether GSAs and school policies, independently and mutually, are associated with less bullying and youths’ perceptions of support from classmates and teachers. Previous studies of sexual and gen- der minority youth in school contexts have often combined samples of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth; this is also among the first studies on measures of school climate related to
social support and bullying to include gender iden- tity independent of sexual identity. Recognizing this, the review below uses variations of the acro- nym LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning) to accurately describe the sample characteristics of prior studies.
Bias-Based Bullying in Schools
All forms of bullying are concerning, yet youth who experience bias-based bullying based on their perceived or actual sexual or gender identity have poorer mental health, greater substance use, and higher truancy compared to youth who experience general forms of bullying (Birkett, Espelage, & Koe- nig, 2009; Bontempo & D’Augelli, 2002; Rivers & D’Augelli, 2001; Russell et al., 2012). A recent meta-analysis revealed that LGBQ youth, especially males, were more likely than heterosexual peers to be victimized at school (Toomey & Russell, 2016). In one national survey of LGBTQ youth, 67% reported frequently hearing homophobic comments at school, 58% felt unsafe because of their sexual orientation, and 43% felt unsafe because of their gender expression (Kosciw et al., 2016). Additionally, only 12% of the youth reported that teachers intervened most or all of the time when they heard homophobic remarks; yet in schools with GSAs, 20% of youth reported teacher inter- vention in response to homophobic statements (Kosciw et al., 2016).
Research also consistently shows that LGBT youth who have been bullied because of their sex- ual orientation or gender expression report lower levels of school connectedness (Diaz, Kosciw, & Greytak, 2010). School connectedness is a key indi- cator of school climate (McNeely & Falci, 2004; Wil- son, 2004) related to whether youth feel that adults and peers in their school care about students as individuals and about their academic success (CDC, 2009). Importantly, positive school climates are associated with higher academic achievement (Battin-Pearson et al., 2000), better mental health (Bond et al., 2007), and less engagement in risky behaviors (Bond et al., 2007; McNeely & Falci, 2004). Positive school climates have also been found to mitigate negative adjustment for LGB youth (Birkett et al., 2009).
Social Supports for LGBTQ Youth
The benefits of social support on overall health and well-being are well documented (e.g., Chu, Saucier, & Hafner, 2010). Studies demonstrate that among
GSAS, INCLUSIVE POLICY, AND PERCEIVED SUPPORT 419
LGB youth, social support within schools, and from peers, and family is associated with better health and educational outcomes (Watson, Gross- man, & Russell, 2019; Doty, Willoughby, Lindahl, & Malik, 2010; Goodenow et al., 2006; Needham & Austin, 2010;). In a sample of LGB and transgender youth, parental support was associated with greater school belonging and lower levels of suici- dality, which were predictive of better academic outcomes, although sexual orientation and gender identity were not treated as distinct categories in the analyses (Poteat, Mereish, DiGiovanni, & Koe- nig, 2011).
Studies on social support among LGB youth emphasize a distinction between general support and sexual identity-specific support (Doty et al., 2010). Compared to general support, higher levels of sexual identity-specific support are associated with lower emotional distress (Doty et al., 2010). Similarly, a recent study that examined wellbeing among LGBT young adults found concurrent LGBT- related support from families and friends during adolescence was associated with higher life satisfac- tion and self-esteem (Snapp, Watson, Russell, Diaz, & Ryan, 2015). Extant research suggests, however, that parental support may generally be lower for LGB (D’Augelli, Grossman, & Starks, 2005; Fish & Russell, 2018; Mufioz-Plaza, Quinn, & Rounds, 2002; Needham & Austin, 2010) and transgender (Factor & Rothblum, 2008; Fish & Russell, 2018) youth com- pared to heterosexual and cisgender youth.
Given that LGBTQ youth often experience vary- ing levels of support and acceptance (or rejection) from family members, schools may serve as an important context for modeling and cultivating social support, and sexuality-specific support, via LGBTQ-focused programs, policies, and curricula (Snapp, McGuire, Sinclair, Gabrion, & Russell, 2015; Snapp, Watson et al., 2015). In a nationally representative study, youth who reported same-sex attraction also had higher GPAs and fewer school troubles (e.g., related to paying attention and get- ting along with others) in the presence of more supportive teachers (Russell, Seif, & Truong, 2001). Other studies show that LGBT youth who note supportive teachers or staff members in school also report feeling safer (Kosciw, Palmer, Kull, & Grey- tak, 2013; McGuire et al., 2010), greater belonging (Murdock & Bolch, 2005), and fewer incidences of victimization (Kosciw et al., 2013). Additionally, LGB youth in schools with LGB-sensitive curricula are less likely to engage in risky sexual activity and substance use (Blake et al., 2001). Notably, peers and teachers each play a unique role in positive
youth development (Watson et al., 2019), highlight- ing the need to consider how classmate and teacher support are both independently instrumental to LGBTQ youth experiences in schools.
Although schools may serve as an important context for social support outside of families, LGBT youth often report a lack of support from class- mates and teachers (Grossman et al., 2009; Sausa, 2005). Research examining attitudes toward LGBT youth and LGBT-related issues reveals that hetero- sexual youth tend to be less accepting and support- ive of sexual and gender minority peers than they are of their heterosexual peers (Horn, Szalacha, & Drill, 2008; Poteat, Espelage, & Koenig, 2009). The lack of social supports and higher risks of victim- ization of LGBTQ youth in schools underscores the importance of identifying programs and policies that improve school climate and experiences for LGBTQ youth.
GSAs and LGBTQ-Focused Policies in Schools
Gay-Straight Alliances may serve a particularly valuable support function within schools. LGBT youth in schools with a GSA report significantly less victimization compared to those without (Che- sir-Teran & Hughes, 2009; Goodenow et al., 2006; Heck et al., 2013; Marx & Kettrey, 2016). School personnel in schools with a GSA are more likely to intervene when they hear homophobic remarks than those in schools without GSAs (Kosciw et al., 2016), and LGBTQ youth report greater school con- nectedness and lower negative mental health out- comes when attending schools with GSAs (Heck et al., 2013). Youth in schools with GSAs engage in less risky behaviors related to alcohol, tobacco, and sex, and are less likely to be truant (Poteat, Sinclair, DiGiovanni, Koenig, & Russell, 2013). LGBTQ youth in schools with a GSA also report more sup- port from classmates, teachers, and administrators (Fetner & Elafros, 2015; Kosciw et al., 2016). Nota- bly, with the exception of a few recent studies (Fet- ner & Elafros, 2015; Poteat, Calzo, & Yoshikawa, 2016; Poteat, Heck, Yoshikawa, & Calzo, 2016), most studies of GSAs do not distinguish between sexual orientation and gender identity. The recent change in name from the “Gay-Straight Alliance Network” to the more inclusive “Genders and Sex- ualities Alliance” network encourages considera- tion for how these programs may provide differential support for LGB and transgender youth (GSA Network, 2016).
LGBTQ-focused school policies also play a vital role in strengthening social supports in schools for
420 DAY, FISH, GROSSMAN, AND RUSSELL
LGBTQ youth. Much of the extant literature to date documents the role of enumerated policies in rela- tion to bias-based bullying and safety (e.g., O’Shaughnessy et al., 2004; Poteat & Russell, 2013). Beyond improved school climates, especially for LGBTQ youth, enumerated antibullying policies are associated with lower suicidal ideation among LGB youth (Goodenow et al., 2006; Hatzenbuehler & Keyes, 2013), and suicidal ideation is also lower in schools in which there are multiple supports for LGB youth, including GSAs, LGBT-inclusive curric- ula, harassment policies that enumerate protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and training for staff on how to create supportive environments for LGBT youth (Hatzenbuehler et al., 2014). Comprehensive antibullying policies in schools are also associated with higher self- esteem among LGBT youth, possibly because such policies signal that schools are an affirming place for LGBT youth (Kosciw et al., 2013). To our knowledge, only one study to date has specifically examined transgender youths’ experiences of vic- timization and harassment in relation to LGBTQ- focused policies (McGuire et al., 2010). McGuire et al. (2010) found that although victimization of transgender youth was pervasive, transgender youth felt safer and more connected to teachers in schools with policies that addressed bullying, and expressed the need for policy that specifically enu- merates gender identity. More research is needed to carefully consider how GSAs and LGBTQ- focused policies cultivate safe and supportive school climates for all youth, and how experiences of LGB and transgender youth may differ within schools.
This study extends prior research by considering how GSAs and LGBTQ-focused policies relate to experiences of bias-based bullying and perceptions of support in schools among LGBTQ youth. In previous studies, LGBTQ youth were often com- bined into a single category; we specifically test for how levels of social support may differ based on gender identity. Using data from a contempo- rary cohort of racially and ethnically diverse LGBTQ youth, we investigate the association between GSAs and LGBTQ-focused policies, indi- vidually and in combination, with youths’ experi- ences of bias-based bullying and perceptions of classmate and teacher support. We conceptualize social support as youth’s perceptions of: (1) teach- ers as caring, fostering supportive classroom
environments, taking an interest in youths’ learn- ing, and offering positive encouragement; and (2) classmates as friendly and attentive, interested in helping academically, encouraging, and inclusive in activities.
We expect that GSAs and LGBTQ-focused poli- cies will contribute to safer and more supportive school climates among LGBTQ youth (Russell, Day, Ioverno, & Toomey, 2016; Russell & McGuire, 2008; Toomey, McGuire, & Russell, 2012). Specifically, we hypothesize that: (H1) LGBTQ youth’s reports of the presence of GSAs and LGBTQ-focused policies, both individually and mutually, will be associated with less self- reported bias-based bullying; (H2) the presence of GSAs will be positively associated with perceived support from classmates and teachers; (H3) given that teachers are the ones who are most likely to be knowledgeable of and tasked with implement- ing policies, LGBTQ-focused policies will be posi- tively associated with perceptions of support from teachers; and (H4) the presence of both GSAs and LGBTQ-focused policies will be positively associ- ated with perceptions of support from classmates and teachers.
Regarding potential differential findings based on gender-identity and life stage, we hypothesize that (H5) the association between the presence or absence of GSAs and LGBTQ-focused policies, as reported by LGBTQ youth, and perceptions of sup- port may differ for transgender youth compared to cisgender youth. We also consider whether or not youth are “out” to classmates or teachers at school because out youth are more likely to be victimized at school (Russell, Toomey, Ryan, & Diaz, 2014), but appear to access and receive more support from others who are sensitive to the issues LGBTQ youth encounter within schools (Watson, Wheldon, & Russell, 2015). We also hypothesize that (H6) the association among GSAs, LGBTQ-focused policies, experiences of bias-based bullying and perceptions of support may differ for youth who are still in high school versus those who have already gradu- ated. Specifically, those who have graduated high school may be susceptible to recall bias. Further- more, those who have gone on to postsecondary education may conflate their high school and col- lege experiences. Although LGBTQ youth often have negative experiences in college (Beemyn & Rankin, 2011; Tetreault, Fette, Meidlinger, & Hope, 2013; Yost & Gilmore, 2011), they theoretically have more choice about where they enroll for postsec- ondary education, and may select colleges with more LGBTQ-focused supports.
GSAS, INCLUSIVE POLICY, AND PERCEIVED SUPPORT 421
Our sample includes participants from the first of a four panel longitudinal study on the risk and pro- tective factors for suicide (N = 1,061). Participants were recruited from community-based agencies or college groups for LGBTQ youth from three urban cities in the Northeast, Southwest, and West Coast. Snowball sampling was used to recruit additional participants.
The sample included LGBTQ identified youth, aged 15–21 (M = 18.8), and was ethnically and racially diverse (see Table 1): 38% were Hispanic or Latino/a; 24% were Black/African American; 23% were multiracial; 22% were White; and 9% were Asian/Asian American, American Indian/ Native American/Alaskan Native, or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. Fifty-four percent (54%) of the participants identified as cisgender female, and 12% identified as transgender. Additionally, 47% identified as gay or lesbian, 43% as bisexual, and 10% as questioning or other, and a majority of the participants (67%) reported disclosing their sex- ual or gender identity to either classmates or teach- ers. More than half of the participants indicated they received free or reduced lunch (59%), which was used as a proxy for socioeconomic status.
Bias-based bullying. Bias-based bullying was assessed through two items based on the question, “During the past 12 months, how many times on school property were you harassed or bullied for any of the following reasons”: “Because you are gay, lesbian, or bisexual or someone thought you were” (homophobic bullying) and “Because of your sex or gender” (gender-based bullying) (0 = never; 4 = more than once a day) (r = .73). Variability was low for the most frequent categories (i.e., every day, more than once a day). We therefore collapsed responses into three categories (0 = never; 1 = less than once a month/once a month; 2 = once a week/more than once a week). Homophobic bully- ing and gender-based bullying were included as distinct measures.
Perceived social support in schools. Both per- ceived classmate support (a = .96) and teacher support (a = .97) were measured via 12-item subscales from the Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale (Malecki, Demaray, & Elliot, 2000). Participants
were prompted to rate how often they received support from (1) classmates and (2) teachers (0 = never; 5 = always). For example, youth were asked, “How often my classmates. . .” “treat me nicely,” “pay attention to me,” “give me informa- tion so I can learn new things;” and, “How often my teacher(s). . .” “cares about me,” “treats me fairly,” and “takes time to help me to learn to do something well.”
GSAs and LGBTQ-focused policies. The pres- ence or absence of a GSA and LGBTQ-focused poli- cies was assessed through two separate items: “Does (did) your school have a Gay/Straight Alli- ance group?” (0 = no; 1 = yes), and “Does (did) your school have an antibullying policy that specif- ically protects LGBTQ students?” (0 = no; 1 = yes; 2 = I don’t know). For analyses we included a cate- gorical measure with six categories reflecting youth who attended a school with: (1) a GSA only (7%); (2) a GSA, but were unsure about LGBTQ-focused policies (25%); (3) no GSA, and were unsure about LGBTQ-focused policies (13%); (4) LGBTQ-focused policies only (8%); (5) both a GSA and LGBTQ- focused policies (31%); and (6) neither a GSA nor LGBTQ-focused policies (17%; reference category).
Covariates. Models were adjusted for: sexual identity (1 = bisexual; 2 = questioning; gay/lesbian was the reference category); assigned sex at birth (0 = female; 1 = male); gender identity (0 = cisgen- der; 1 = transgender); race (including Asian, Pacific Islander, or Native American; Black or African American; multiple races; and unreported, with White as the reference category); ethnicity (0 = non-Hispanic; 1 = Hispanic); age; receipt of free or reduced school lunch (0 = no; 1 = yes); finally, we created a dichotomous measure of being out to school classmates and/or teachers based on youths’ responses to the question, “who knows about your sexual identity/gender identity: class- mate(s)? teacher(s)?” Youth who answered “yes” to being out to either classmates or teachers were coded as “out at school” (0 = no; 1 = yes). See Table 1 for sample descriptive statistics.
We conducted multivariate ordinal logistic and lin- ear regressions using Stata 15 (Cohen, Cohen, West, & Aiken, 2003; StataCorp, 2016) to investigate the relationship between the presence or absence of a GSA and/or LGBTQ-focused policies, bias-based bullying, and perceptions of classmate and teacher
422 DAY, FISH, GROSSMAN, AND RUSSELL
support. We also tested whether gender identity moderated these associations to investigate whether GSAs and policies operate differently for transgender youth. Complete case analyses resulted in a loss of 9% of the total sample. Data were determined to be Missing at Random (MAR) using tests for missingness in Stata 15, and we therefore used multiple imputations using chained equations (10 iterations seeded at 53,241) to account for miss- ing data (Enders, 2010). Results for each outcome are reported in Tables 2 and 3.
We first tested our hypothesis that the presence of GSAs and LGBTQ-focused policies, as reported by LGBTQ youth, will be associated with less self- reported bias-based bullying (H1). In line with this hypothesis, we found that youth had lower odds of experiencing frequent homophobic bullying in schools with LGBTQ-focused policies only (AOR = 0.37, 95% CI 0.19–0.71), and both a GSA and LGBTQ-focused policies (AOR = 0.55, 95% CI 0.36– 0.83; see Table 2). Additionally, youth in schools with a GSA, but who were unsure if the school had LGBTQ-focused policies, were less likely to experi- ence frequent homophobic bullying (AOR = 0.45, 95% CI 0.28–0.70). Having a GSA in schools where youth knew there were not LGBTQ-focused policies was not associated with homophobic bullying. Youth in schools with GSAs, but in which youth were unsure if they had LGBTQ-focused policies, (AOR = 0.50, 95% CI 0.30–0.84), and both GSAs and LGBTQ-focused policies (AOR = 0.53, 95% CI 0.33–0.86) were also less likely to experience frequent gender-based bullying than youth who reported having neither a GSA nor LGBTQ-focused policies at their school. Having LGBTQ-focused policies exclusively was not indepen- dently associated with gender-based bullying.
Associations between covariates and outcomes were also of substantive interest (see Table 2). Com- pared to lesbian or gay youth, bisexual youth had lower odds of experiencing homophobic bullying; and compared to cisgender youth, transgender youth had two times greater odds of experiencing homo- phobic and gender-based bullying. Additionally, youth who indicated their assigned sex at birth as male were almost twice as likely to experience homo- phobic bullying compared to those who were assigned female at birth. Compared to White youth, Black or African American and multiracial youth were less likely to be bullied for homophobic reasons.
TABLE 1 Frequencies, Means, and Standard Deviations for Sample Demo-
graphics and Outcome Variables
Percent/ Mean (SD) n
Sexual orientation 1,061 Gay/Lesbian 47.22% Bisexual 42.70% Questioning/other 10.08%
Gender identity 1,061 Cisgender 87.84% Transgender 12.16%
Assigned sex at birth 1,060 Male 45.75% Female 54.25%
Age (15–21) 18.66 (1.85) 1,061 Race 1,061 Asian/Pacific Islander/ Native American
Black/African American 24.32% White 21.58% Multiracial 22.90% No race reported 22.53%
Ethnicity 1,061 Not Hispanic or Latino/a 49.29% Hispanic or Latino/a 38.27% No ethnicity reported 12.44%
Homophobic bullying 1,022 Never 70.84% Once a month/less than once a month 18.49% Once a week/more than once a week
Gender-based bullying 1,020 Never 81.08% Once a month/less than once a month
Once a week/more than once a week
Perceived classmate support (0–5) 2.61 (1.28) 1,006 Perceived teacher support (0–5) 3.09 (1.32) 1,013 GSA, LGBTQ-focused policies, or both
Neither 16.68% GSA only 7.07% GSA, LGBTQ-focused policies unsure
No GSA, LGBTQ-focused policies unsure
LGBTQ-focused policies only 7.82% Both GSA & LGBTQ-focused policies 30.91%
Out to classmates 64.75% 1,061 Out to teachers 53.06% 1,061 Out at school (classmates and/or teachers)
Received free/reduced lunch 59.16% 1,043
Notes. LGBTQ = lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/ questioning; Cisgender = gender identity aligns with assigned sex at birth (sex assigned at birth); classmate support and tea- cher support were scales ranging from 0 to 5 (0 = “never sup- ported”; 5 = “always supported”); GSA = Gay-Straight Alliance; youth who were out to classmates and/or teachers were com- bined to calculate “out at school”.
GSAS, INCLUSIVE POLICY, AND PERCEIVED SUPPORT 423
Classmate and Teacher Support
We next tested our hypotheses that: GSAs will be positively associated with perceptions of classmate support (H2); LGBTQ-focused policies will be posi- tively associated with perceptions of teacher sup- port (H3); and the presence of both GSAs and LGBTQ-focused policies will be positively associ- ated
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