Today, on Coming Out Day, LGBT Youth Scotland are pleased to announce the release of “Developing a Gender and Sexual Orientation Alliance (GSA): a toolkit for young people and teachers”, our comprehensive and easy-to-follow guide to establishing GSAs in Scottish schools.
This has been designed to take young people, supported by their teachers, through the steps and considerations required in the journey towards establishing an effective and organised GSA.
"This is a useful guide for pupils and teachers to do something practical to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people in the school community and encourage a positive school ethos for LGBT learners. We are launching the guide on coming out day, to help schools include LGBT pupils who are out at school and send a positive message of support to those who are considering coming out"
- Fergus McMillan, Chief Executive of LGBT Youth Scotland
At least 25% of Scottish schools now host some form of GSA and that number is quickly growing, as teachers strive to create safe, supportive and inclusive learning environments for their LGBT young people.
The guide is available for download as a PDF file from the Resources section of this website.
Why are GSAs important?
LGBT Youth Scotland’s Life in Scotland for LGBT Young People research found that 69% of LGBT young people have experienced homophobic or biphobic bullying in school and 10% of LGBT young people left education because they felt their school was non-inclusive environment.
This can clearly have a negative impact on LGBT students’ academic performance as well as their health and wellbeing; with evidence showing that those LGBT young people that experience bullying are more likely to have poor mental health and have an increased risk of absenteeism .
Students who attend a GSA are more likely to report that they feel safe in school and are less likely to be absent . They can also be useful spaces to help them identify the support available to them. So setting up a GSA is a good ﬁrst step in insuring LGBT students in your school feel safe, respected and included.
Importantly, supporting a GSA gives the school an opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to equalities and inclusion, and to fulfil its legislative responsibilities to ensure that no student is treated less favourably because of their identity or ‘protected characteristic’ and to promote equality of opportunity.