Homophobic Bullying in Positive and Negative School Climates: The Moderating Role of Gender Sexuality Alliances

Salvatore Ioverno, Stephen T. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The presence of Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) in schools has been linked to low rates of bullying for lesbian, gay, bisexual, questioning (LGBQ), transgender, and all students. However, little is known about how the heterogeneity in GSA functioning and school climates may affect these rates. This study examines whether a well-functioning GSA would limit the effect of a negative school climate as a risk factor for homophobic victimization experiences. The sample included 38,872 students (3401 LGBQ and 453 transgender) from 58 California high schools. Several independent databases were combined. Students reported on homophobic victimization, the school climate, and demographic information. At the school level, reports from all students were aggregated for school climate; reports from GSA members were aggregated on their perceptions of GSA functioning; publicly-available data were used for school characteristics. The results suggest that greater GSA functioning may be beneficial for all students in schools that have a negative school climate, and particularly protective for transgender students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-366
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Gay-straight alliance
  • Homophobic bullying
  • LGBT
  • School climate
  • Transgender
  • Youth advocacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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