School Climate for Transgender Youth: A Mixed Method Investigation of Student Experiences and School Responses
- 6.7k Downloads
Transgender youth experience negative school environments and may not benefit directly from interventions defined to support Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual (LGB) youth. This study utilized a multi-method approach to consider the issues that transgender students encounter in school environments. Using data from two studies, survey data (total n = 2260, 68 transgender youth) from study 1 and focus groups (n = 35) from study 2, we examine transgender youth’s experience of school harassment, school strategies implemented to reduce harassment, the protective role of supportive school personnel, and individual responses to harassment, including dropping out and changing schools. In both studies, we found that school harassment due to transgender identity was pervasive, and this harassment was negatively associated with feelings of safety. When schools took action to reduce harassment, students reported greater connections to school personnel. Those connections were associated with greater feelings of safety. The indirect effects of school strategies to reduce harassment on feelings of safety through connection to adults were also significant. Focus group data illuminate specific processes schools can engage in to benefit youth, and how the youth experience those interventions.
KeywordsTransgender School climate Sexual minority Harassment
- Burgess, C. (1999). Internal and external stress factors associated with the identity development of transgendered youth. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services, 10(3/4), 35–47.Google Scholar
- Di Ceglie, D., Freedman, D., McPherson, S., & Richardson, P. (2002). Children and adolescents referred to a specialist gender identity development service: Clinical features and demographic characteristics. The International Journal of Transgenderism, 6(1), http://www.symposion.com/ijt/ijtvo06no01_01.htm.
- Fontaine, J. H. (2002). Transgender issues in counseling. In L. D. Burlew & D. Capuzzi (Eds.), Sexuality counseling (pp. 177–194). New York: Nova Science Publishers Inc.Google Scholar
- Fraser, M. W., & Terzian, M. A. (2005). Risk and resilience in child development: Practice principles and strategies. In G. P. Mallon & P. McCartt Hess (Eds.), Handbook of children, youth, and family services: Practice, policies, and programs. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
- Graytak, E. A., Kosciw, J. G., & Diaz, E. M. (2009). Harsh realities: The experiences of transgender youth in our nation’s schools. New York: GLSEN.Google Scholar
- Human Rights Watch. (2001). Hatred in the hallways: Violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students in US schools. New York: Human Rights Watch.Google Scholar
- Kosciw, J. G., & Diaz, E. M. (2005). The 2005 National School Climate Survey: The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in our nation’s schools. New York: Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network.Google Scholar
- Kosciw, J. G., Diaz, E. M., & Greytak, E. A. (2008). 2007 National School Climate Survey: The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and Transgender youth in our nation’s schools. New York: GLSEN.Google Scholar
- Mallon, G. P., & DeCrescenzo, T. (2006). Transgender children and youth: A child welfare practice perspective. Journal of Homosexuality, 42(1), 215–241.Google Scholar
- O’Shaughnessy, M., Russell, S., Heck, K., Calhoun, C., & Laub, C. (2004). Safe place to learn: Consequences of harassment based on actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender non-conformity and steps for making schools safer. San Francisco, CA: California Safe Schools Coalition.Google Scholar
- Quinn, T. L. (2002). Sexual orientation and gender identity: An administrative approach to diversity. Child Welfare Journal, 81(6), 913–928.Google Scholar
- Russell, S. T., & McGuire, J. K. (2008). The school climate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students. In M. Shinn & H. Yoshikawa (Eds.), Toward positive youth development: Transforming schools and community programs (pp. 133–149). New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar