“For all the role asks of us, it gives us so much more”: a descriptive study of gender and sexuality alliance advisors’ usual practices, training experiences, and motivations

Kelly M. Davis, Danielle M. Kahlo, Bryan N. Cochran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

School-based Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) clubs have well-documented benefits for sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth and their allies. However, little is known about what constitutes usual practice in these clubs, nor is much known about the adult advisors who serve as important safe adult relationships for SGM youth in schools. As such, the present study conducted a survey with 167 GSA advisors to gain a better understanding of usual practices within GSAs and advisor characteristics, training experiences, needs, and motivations in their role. Findings indicate that a majority of participating advisors are teachers in non-rural, public high schools. Only one third of participants indicated that they had received any training related to their role and all participants expressed needs for training across a variety of domains. In terms of their GSA meetings, participants indicated the frequency and duration of their meetings and the estimated amount of time spent focused on student emotional support, advocacy efforts, and social connection. We additionally conducted a thematic analysis surrounding advisor motivations to serve in their role. Themes included awareness of need, provision of a safe space, advocacy, and personal connections. Implications for provision of training and future supports for GSA advisors are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-77
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of LGBT Youth
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2024

Keywords

  • Gay-Straight Alliance
  • Gender and Sexuality Alliance
  • LGBTQ youth
  • positive youth development

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