National study on schools and LGBTQ youth released
Survey finds Canadian school administrators want LGBTQ supports
WINNIPEG, MB –A new national survey headed by The University of Winnipeg’s Dr. Catherine Taylor finds that most Canadian school administrators want to offer specific supports to enhance the safety and wellbeing of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, Two Spirit, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) students.
“It was significant to find that there is such support and goodwill towards LGBTQ students coming from the top,” said Dr. Taylor, Professor, Department of Rhetoric, Writing & Communications and Faculty of Education. Virtually all national, provincial and territorial school system organizations endorsed the study and the response rate from school districts was strong at 36%. “This suggests that the time has come to end the official and unofficial ‘don’t say the word gay’ rule that still exists in many schools and introduce specific supports to ensure the wellbeing of LGBTQ youth.”
The study, entitled School District Interventions in Support of LGBTQ Youth Wellbeing surveyed 141 Canadian school districts, including rural, urban, regional; French, English; and secular, Catholic divisions representing approximately 48% of Canada’s schools and 50% of Canada’s teachers. The National Inventory is one of the major research areas funded by a $2 million grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research headed by Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc at the University of British Columbia.
Dr. Saewyc noted, “This study provides an important picture of the different ways school districts across Canada support LGBTQ students. It’s a key step to identifying what works to improve school experiences and reduce health disparities for LGBTQ youth.” The main purpose of the National Inventory was to develop a more detailed picture of how school systems are acting to support LGBTQ students across the country. It found that:
- LGBTQ-specific policy is perceived to be more effective than a generic safe schools policy in protecting LGBTQ youth. However, it is much less likely to be implemented in K-8 schools.
- Many school districts rely solely on Gay-Straight Alliances or anti-harassment policy.
- Urban schools were more likely than rural ones to have LGBTQ-specific interventions.
- 31 districts have LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum and of those, most have it in K-8 schools.
- Fewer than five districts reported opposition to LGBTQ interventions on religious grounds.
In January 2016, Dr. Taylor, in partnership with The Manitoba Teachers’ Society, released the national report called The Every Teacher Project on LGBTQ-inclusive Education in Canada’s K-12 Schools, which found that the vast majority of Canadian teachers approve of LGBTQ-inclusive education.
Dr. Taylor will speak at the Steinbach Pride march on Saturday, July 9, 2016 at 10:30 am. She will present the National Inventory findings to the national conference of the Canadian Association of School System Administrators at the Hotel Fort Garry in a workshop at 11:15 on Friday, July 8 and in a keynote address at 2:00 pm on Saturday, July 9.
Dr. Catherine Taylor