Fostering LGBTQ+ Youth Health and Empowerment in Schools
Paul Poteat, Ph.D., Boston College
Many LGBTQ+ youth continue to face discrimination in schools, yet schools are also a key setting for LGBTQ+ youth to access resources to
promote their health and empowerment. This talk highlights school policies, practices, and resources that play an important role in these health-promoting efforts. A particular emphasis is given to Gender- Sexuality Alliances (GSAs), school-based clubs for LGBTQ+ youth and allies that provide opportunities for support and advocacy. The talk shows how greater engagement in GSAs predicts reduced depression and anxiety among members over the school year through an empowerment process. Further, it shows how greater GSA advocacy over the year predicts reduced sexual orientation disparities in depression within the school at large. These findings suggest how GSAs and other school and community settings can promote thriving through empowerment and opportunities for collective action against social inequality.