Safe Schools & Youth

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    New Report: Sexual and Gender Minority Youth in Foster Care

    By Bianca D.M. Wilson, Khush Cooper, Angel Kastanis, Sheila Nezhad
    August 2014

    LGBTQ foster youth are twice as likely to report poor treatment and more likely to live in group homes and to have more foster care placements. Approximately 1 in 5, or 1,400 foster youth in Los Angeles County, home to the nation’s largest population of foster youth, identify as LGBTQ. The finding is twice the estimated percentage of youth not in foster care who are LGBTQ. Over 86% of foster youth in Los Angeles are Latino, Black, or API.

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    Mental Health and Suicidality Among Racially/Ethnically Diverse Sexual Minority Youths

    By Wendy B. Bostwick, Ilan Meyer, et al.
    July 2014

    Sexual minority youth had higher prevalence than heterosexual youth of each of the six outcomes studied, including self-harm, feeling sad, and suicide ideation, planning, and attempts. The study shows that 22.8 percent of sexual minority youth compared with 6.6 percent of heterosexual youth had attempted suicide in the year prior to being surveyed. Notably, the odds of suicide ideation, planning, and attempt among sexual minority youth varied by race/ethnicity.

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  • Protective School Climates and Reduced Risk for Suicide Ideation in Sexual Minority Youth

    By Mark L. Hatzenbuehler, Michelle Birkett, Aimee Van Wagenen, Ilan H. Meyer
    April 2014

    Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth living in states and cities with more protective school climates are significantly less likely to report one-year suicidal thoughts than LGB youths living in states and cities with less protective school climates. Of schools in eight national cities and states, about half provided Gay-Straight Alliances and LGBT inclusive health curricula, and almost all provided anti-bullying policies prohibiting harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

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  • Preschool selection considerations and experiences of school mistreatment among lesbian, gay, and heterosexual adoptive parents

    By Abbie E. Goldberg, JuliAnna Z. Smith
    March 2014

    Lesbian, Gay, or Bisexual parents of preschoolers may be particularly sensitive to family, racial and sexual diversity issues as they evaluate and select preschools for their children. Additionally, heterosexual adoptive parent families may be especially sensitive to adoption-related stigma and exclusion. Early childhood educators should recognize the growing diversity of contemporary families and consider adoption, family structure, and race as important components of curriculum development.

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  • Lesbian and Heterosexual Two-Parent Families: Adolescent-Parent Relationship Quality and Adolescent Well-being

    By Henny M.W. Bos, Loes van Gelderen, Nanette Gartrell
    February 2014

    Adolescents with continuously-coupled lesbian mothers had higher self-esteem and fewer conduct problems (such as rule-breaking, vandalism, or getting into fights ) than adolescents with continuously-coupled heterosexual parents. Across other indicators of psychological adjustment, substance usage, and relationships with their parents, the study found that adolescents from intact two-mother lesbian families were comparable to those from intact mother-father families.

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  • Identifying and Serving LGBTQ Youth: Case Studies of Runaway and Homeless Youth Grantees

    By Andrew Burwick, Vanessa Oddo, Laura Durso, Daniel Friend, Gary Gates
    February 2014

    A study published by Mathematica and co-authored by the Williams Institute examines services for LGBTQ runaway and homeless youth (RHY). Focusing on four local agencies receiving grants from the Administration for Children and Families’ RHY Program, it aimed to learn about programs’ strategies for identifying and serving LGBTQ RHY, the challenges programs face in understanding and addressing the needs of this population, and potential areas for future research.

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  • LGBTQ Youth Face Unique Barriers to Accessing Youth Mentoring Programs

    By Christy Mallory, Brad Sears, Amira Hasenbush, Alexandra Susman
    January 2014

    Over three million LGBTQ youth in the United States could benefit from access to youth mentoring programs –in particular over 1.6 million at-risk LGBTQ youth. Research shows that LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in the juvenile justice system. They also experience higher rates of family rejection, school harassment and bullying, homelessness, and a host of other factors related to their identity that put them at increased risk of involvement with the system.

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  • Suicide Attempts Among Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Adults

    By Jody L. Herman, Ann P. Haas, Philip L. Rodgers
    January 2014

    New analysis of responses to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS) shows that transgender respondents who experienced rejection by family and friends, discrimination, victimization, or violence have a higher risk of attempting suicide. 78 percent of survey respondents who suffered physical or sexual violence at school reported suicide attempts, as did 65 percent of respondents who experienced violence at work.

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  • Civic Competence of Dutch Children in Female Same-Sex Parent Families: A Comparison With Children of Opposite-Sex Parents

    By Henny Bos, Nanette Gartrell, Jaap Roeleveld, Guuske Ledoux
    September 2013

    Pre-teen Dutch children raised by female same-sex parents scored higher on core principles of democratic citizenship than their peers in heterosexual-parent families. In a Dutch national survey of civic competence, children between the ages of 11 to 13 years old reared in female-parent households scored significantly higher than children in heterosexual-parent households on attitudes concerning acting democratically, dealing with conflicts, and dealing with differences.

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  • Provider Perspectives on the Needs of Gay and Bisexual Male and Transgender Youth of Color

    By Laura E. Durso, Angeliki Kastanis, Bianca D.M. Wilson, Ilan H. Meyer
    August 2013

    Los Angeles-area gay, bisexual, and questioning male and transgender (GBTQ) youth of color face individual, organizational, and structural barriers to educational, health and social services. Both schools and service providers struggle to provide institutionally-supported GBTQ-friendly services. And while some individuals within health and social service agencies were equipped to support GBTQ youth, organizations lacked institutional policies, practices or training opportunities to better serve this population.

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  • School-Based Gay-Affirmative Interventions: First Amendment and Ethical Concerns

    By Ilan H. Meyer, Ronald Bayer
    August 2013

    Public health professionals and educators have developed effective school-based interventions to reduce prejudice and stigma against LGBT students. These interventions can reduce the harm caused to sexual minority youths by stigma and can improve health outcomes. Critics have warned that these interventions attempt to control speech and religious beliefs protected by the First Amendment. Legal and ethical analysis shows that, both legally and ethically, there is great leeway for schools to implement LGBT-affirmative interventions.

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  • Minority Stress Experiences and Psychological Well-Being: The Impact of Support from and Connection to Social Networks Within the Los Angeles House and Ball Communities.

    By Carolyn F. Wong, Sheree M. Schrager, Ian W. Holloway, Ilan H. Meyer, Michele D. Kipke
    August 2013

    African American young men who have sex with men (AAYMSM) from the House and Ball communities are at high risk for HIV infection. Because these communities are not only sources of risk but also support for AAYMSM, researchers must also consider the resources these communities possess. This knowledge will assist in the formulation of more effective prevention strategies and intervention approaches.

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  • Adolescents in Lesbian Families: DSM-Oriented Scale Scores and Stigmatization

    By Henry Bos, Nanette Gartrell & Loes van Gelderen
    May 2013

    The present study focused on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)-oriented scale scores from Child Behavior Checklists completed by parents of the 17-year-old offspring in the U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study.

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  • Adolescents with Lesbian Mothers Describe Their Own Lives

    By Nanette Gartrell, Henny Bos H, Heidi Peyser, et al.
    November 2012

    Teens with lesbian mothers are academically successful and happy with their lives. These adolescents had strong family bonds, and they were nearly unanimous in describing their mothers as good role models. They also reported having numerous close friends—generally with same-age peers who were predominantly heterosexual. Teenagers were asked a series of questions about their everyday life experiences including academics, extracurricular activities, aspirations, friendships, family interactions, role models, health problems and wellbeing.

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  • Serving Our Youth: Findings from a National Survey of Service Providers Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth Who Are Homeless or At Risk of Becoming Homeless

    By Laura E. Durso, Gary J. Gates
    July 2012

    Over the past ten years, the percentage of homeless youth providers serving LGBT clients has increased from 82% to 94%. Nearly seven in ten (68%) respondents indicated that family rejection was a major factor contributing to LGBT youth homelessness, making it the most cited factor.

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  • Peer-To-Peer Violence and Bullying: Examining the Federal Response

    U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
    September 2011

    This report analyzes government efforts to protect minority youth from violence and bullying in school. The report cites Williams Institute scholars Dr. Ilan H. Meyer, Williams Senior Scholar of Public Policy and Williams Institute Faculty Advisory Committee Members Stuart Biegel and Greg Herek.

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  • Statement to U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Regarding Peer Violence & Bullying

    By Stuart Biegel
    July 2011

    Statement delivered to Commissioner Roberta Achtenberg, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, regarding Peer Violence & Bullying

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  • Briefing on Peer-to-Peer Violence and Bullying: Examining the Federal Response

    By Ilan H. Meyer
    May 2011

    Testimony made before the United States Commission on Civil Rights briefing on “Peer-to-Peer Violence and Bullying: Examining the Federal Response.”

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  • Safe at School: Addressing the School Environment and LGBT Safety through Policy and Legislation

    By Stuart Biegel & Sheila James Kuehl
    September 2010

    This policy brief examines what we know from both litigation and research concerning the challenges faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth in America’s public schools.

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  • The Right to Be Out: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in America’s Public Schools

    By Stuart Biegel

    Despite significant advances for gay and transgender persons in the United States, the public school environment remains daunting, even frightening, as evidenced by numerous high-profile incidents of discrimination, bullying, violence, and suicide.

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