To Join or Not to Join: Gay-Straight Student Alliances and the High School Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youths

Nicholas C. Heck, Lauri M. Lindquist, Brandon T. Stewart, Christopher Brennan, Bryan N. Cochran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This retrospective study investigates 79 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) college students' experiences attending high schools with gay-straight student alliances (GSAs). Responses to two, open-ended survey questions were analyzed thematically to identify reasons that underlie GSA non-membership and to model facets of GSAs that may impact the GSA-related experiences of LGBT youths. Three frames of reference for understanding GSA non-membership and perceptions of GSAs emerged. Implications for predicting GSA membership and identifying protective mechanisms of GSAs are outlined. Suggestions to help GSA leaders and advisors enhance specific aspects of GSAs that appear to be associated with positive perceptions of GSAs are also provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-101
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2013

Keywords

  • gay-straight alliance
  • high school
  • identity development
  • LGBT
  • youth

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