Gay Straight Alliance
Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) are student-led clubs that provide a safe and affirming environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning students and their heterosexual allies. They are like any other school club: they hold meetings, have faculty sponsors, engage in fundraising activities, plan events and are open to all students on campus.
The presence of GSAs may help to make schools safer for LGBT students by sending a message that biased language and harassment will not be tolerated.
Having a GSA may also make schools more accessible to LGBT students by contributing to a more positive school environment.
GSAs may help LGBT students to identify supportive school staff, which has been shown to have a positive impact on their academic achievements and experiences in school.
Most students lack access to GSAs or other student clubs that provide support and address issues specific to LGBT students and their allies.
Students in schools with GSAs are less likely to hear homophobic remarks such as “faggot” or “dyke” in school on a daily basis than students without a GSA (57% compared to 75%).
LGBT students in schools with GSAs are less likely to miss school because they feel unsafe compared to other students: a quarter (26%) of students in schools with GSAs missed school in the past month because they felt unsafe compared to a third (32%) of students at schools without GSAs.
Students in schools with a GSA are more likely to report that school faculty, staff and administrators are supportive of lesbian, gay and bisexual students (52% compared to 32%).
*Findings reprinted with permission from GLSEN