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Challenges faced by lesbians, gays,


Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) and other LGBTQ
support systems in public schools and colleges:
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  • "Regardless of a child's ethnic, socioeconomic, religious, sexual orientation, or physical status, all children have a right to safety. When victimization through bullying, verbal abuse, and physical violence is prevalent in a school, the entire school community experiences the consequences. When abuse against a particular group is perceived as acceptable, intergroup hatreds can become established... Students who are different from the majority of their classmates because of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, or other personal characteristics are at increased risk for being bullied. Gay, lesbian, or bisexual students, and students perceived to be gay by their peers are often victims of repeated verbal abuse and physical assault," Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 1

  • "College is stressful. Every student faces challenges; some of which are common among peers, and others that are more individual. LGBTQ students, for example, have a unique set of challenges to consider. Fortunately, more and more schools are working to make their campuses, traditional and online, more inclusive. This guide takes a look at those colleges and universities leading the way in providing curricula and resources to support LGBTQ students throughout their college experience. Information on resources, curricula, and student organizations is provided, as well as candid interviews with LGBTQ community leaders to help alleviate some of the worries that LGBTQ students may have when it comes to postsecondary education." Affordable Colleges Online. 2

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This section deals primarily with Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) which are student-organized and student-led clubs in U.S. public high schools. They support gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual students in their battles to attain equal rights and treatment. Thousands have been organized the U.S. 3

The federal Equal Access Act, requires that public schools which have as few as one non-curriculum club must allow the creation of a GSA, even if the school board or principal disagrees with the group's purpose. Otherwise, the school would lose all federal funding.

There are also nearly 200 colleges and universities in the U.S. with LGBT support centers or services. 4

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Topics covered in this section:

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Some web sites of Gay-Straight Alliances:

bullet Ann Arbor Huron (MI) High School GSA at:
bullet Menlo school of Atherton CA at:
bullet Dartmouth College, Hanover NH at: Their site contains a copy of their constitution.
bullet North Andover (MA) Gay Straight Alliance, at: 
bullet Washington High's GSA, Tacoma WA at: 

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 Some useful resources:

bullet "Creating a welcoming campus and community," Affordable Colleges Online, at:

bullet "Gay/straight alliances: A student guide," Massachusetts Department of Education, at: 

bullet "How to start a gay-straight alliance," Bay Area Gay-Straight Alliance Network, at:

bullet The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network has a web page at: They include lists of community and school "tools" to help organize clubs, raise money, etc.

bullet W.J. Blumenfeld & Laurie Lindop, "How to start a Gay-Straight Alliance," at:

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  1. "School Health Guidelines to Prevent Unintentional Injuries and Violence," Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2001-DEC-7, at:
  2. Larry Lariosa & Craig Leets, Jr., "Creating a welcoming campus and community," Affordable Colleges Online, at:
  3. Lucas Wall, "ACLU sues Klein school on behalf of lesbian student," Houston Chronicle, 2003-JAN-22, at: 
  4. Source: Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals, Inc. Cited in Ref. 2 above.

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Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality & Bisexuality > Challenges > here

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Copyright 2000 to 2015, by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2000-FEB-10
Latest update: 2015-JUN-11
Author: B.A. Robinson

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