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Gay-straight alliances in schools cut suicide risk for all students, researchers say

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Schools that set up programs to fight homophobia help reduce the suicide risk for all students, a recent study showed.

Canadian researchers said all students at schools that set up gay-straight alliances and enacted anti-homophobia policies showed lower odds of discrimination, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, particularly when both were enacted or after they had been in place for three years or more.

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“We know that LGBTQ students are at higher risk for suicide, in part because they are more often targeted for bullying and discrimination,” says Elizabeth Saewyc, a University of British Columbia nursing professor and lead author of the study. “But heterosexual students can also be the target of homophobic bullying. When policies and supportive programs like GSAs are in place long enough to change the environment of the school, it’s better for students’ mental health, no matter what their orientation.”

The study examined data from the British Columbia Adolescent Health Survey and was published in the International Journal of Child, Youth, and Family Studies.

One-fifth of the nearly 22,000 students examined in the survey attended schools with anti-homophobic bullying policies and one-third attended schools with GSAs. About 60 percent of the students included in the survey attended schools that had neither.

Students who attended schools that implemented GSAs were half as likely to suffer homophobic discrimination or have suicidal thoughts as students who attended schools without those organizations.

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Heterosexual boys and girls were significantly less likely to be targeted for discrimination over perceived sexual orientation at those schools, and heterosexual boys were half as likely to attempt suicide if their school had a GSA.

Anti-homophobia policies reduced the odds of suicidal thoughts for gay and bisexual boys by more than 70 percent, and suicide attempts by lesbian or bisexual girls dropped by two-thirds.

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Heterosexual boys at those schools were 27 percent less likely to have suicidal thoughts that straight boys at schools without anti-homophobia policies in place for at least three years.

The researchers previously found that Canadian high schools with GSAs in place for three years or more also reduced problem alcohol use for all students.

[Image: Students Taking A Self Portrait With Smart Phone via Shutterstock]

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Dick Cheney raising money for Trump’s re-election — with White House staffers Ivanka and Jared: report

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Former Vice President Dick Cheney is raising money for President Donald Trump's re-election at a fundraiser in a ritzy western resort town.

"Former vice president Richard B. Cheney and his daughter, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), are to appear at a lunch fundraiser Monday in support of President Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee, according to an invitation to the event," The Washington Post reported Saturday. "The luncheon fundraiser in Jackson, Wyo., will feature White House advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, along with acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney as 'special guests,' according to the invitation, which was obtained by The Washington Post."

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‘Go back to Harlem!’: Florida woman has n-word laced meltdown after bumping black woman’s shopping cart

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On Saturday, the Atlanta Black Star reported an incident in Florida, in which a white woman screamed racial slurs at a black woman at a Publix supermarket in Miami after their shopping carts jostled each other.

After the woman allegedly banged into Nicki Johnson's cart, she refused to apologize, saying, "I didn't hit you with my cart, and f**k you,  you f**king n****r."

Johnson whipped out her cell phone camera, and began recording the incident, saying "You, why don't you call me a n****r again?"

"You thinking I'm sorry?" snapped the woman. "Let me tell you something, I don't have to call you anything. Get away from me, I will call security and there are surveillance videos. Get away from me!"

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‘I’m a nurse, what are you?’: Tennessee lawmaker humiliates anti-choice activists in brutal public grilling

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Anti-choice activists in Tennessee were unprepared for the grilling they got from a Democratic Party lawmaker when making the case for a bill that would outlaw abortion before many women knew they were pregnant.

One of the speakers in favor of the fetal heartbeat bill was Baptist Pastor Randy Davis, who was questioned by state Sen. Katrina Robinson (D-Memphis).

"How many women executive pastors do you have in your convention?" Robinson asked Davis. "Or senior pastors."

"None," Davis replied.

"So is it the same ideology that restricts access to women being able to lead a congregation that leads you all to support women not being able to make a medical decision about their body?" Robinson asked.

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