Monday, June 6, 2011
This study of 11th graders in Oregon, recently published in the journal Pediatrics, found that the environment being supportive or not directly impacted not only attempted suicide rates of Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual students, but of ALL students.
They looked at five measures of the social environment surrounding queer youth on a county-wide level that included:
1) proportion of schools with anti-bullying policies specifically protecting Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual students;
2) proportion of schools with Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs);
3) proportion of schools with anti-discrimination policies that included sexual orientation;
4) proportion of same-sex couples; and
5) proportion of Democrats in the county.
The rates of attempted suicide in the more gay-friendly communities were 20% lower for Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual students and 9% lower for heterosexual students.
If schools needed to justify anti-discrimination, anti-bullying, and celebrating diversity programming to non-queer communities (Have I mentioned I'm booking speaker visits for the 2011-2012 school year?), this data should help them make the point that the safer we can make our culture and schools for queer students, the safer it will be for everyone.
And that's really important.