In a new study published by researchers from the University of British Columbia, data suggests that Canadian schools with anti-homophobia programs and Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) promote more positive environments for both queer-identifying students and their straight allies. Canada’s done it again!
GSAs, in-school groups focusing on bringing together students who identify in the LGBTQ spectrum and their straight allies, aim to create a safe place for students to form supportive bonds regardless of orientation. As it turns out, they’re working. Drawing on data from the 2008 British Columbia Adolescent Health Survey, researchers found that schools with GSAs may reduce the odds of suicidal thoughts and attempts in both LGBTQ individuals and their non-queer counterparts. In some cases, the likelihood of students to attempt suicide was cut in half.
Citing bullying as a major source of distress among LGBTQ and straight youth, the study found that through the strength of their community and a shift in the way students address their queer peers, LGBTQ individuals and straight allies felt less negative societal pressure. This was especially present in schools that programs in place for three years or more. Basically, the kids are alright and the schools aren’t half bad, either. You go, humans.