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LGBTQ-supportive school policies, practices benefit sexual health of LGB students

Pro-LGBTQIA policies and practices in educational institutions have positive impacts on the sexual health particularly of lesbian, gay and bisexual students.

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Pro-LGBTQIA policies and practices in educational institutions have positive impacts on the sexual health particularly of lesbian, gay and bisexual students.

This is according to a study – “The Association of LGBTQ-Supportive School Health Policies and Practices with Sexual Health Outcomes” by Wojciech Kaczkowski, Adina C. Cooper, Jingjing Li, and Leah Robin – that appeared in LGBT Health.

Here, the researchers hoped to examine the association of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ)-supportive school policies and practices with sexual health outcomes among LGB and heterosexual students.

To do this, they used the 2014 and 2016 School Health Profiles data from principals and lead health educators from 117 high schools in 16 local education agencies across the US assessed LGBTQ-supportive school policies and practices (e.g. having a gay/straight alliance or similar club). The 2015 and 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey data from 75,638 students from the same schools assessed sexual health outcomes (e.g. being currently sexually active). They then conducted multilevel cross-sectional logistic regression analyses to examine the associations between school-level LGBTQ-supportive policies and practices with student-level sexual health outcomes, while controlling for sex, grade, race/ethnicity, and school priority status.

The researchers found that:

  • Several LGBTQ-supportive school policies and practices were significantly associated with lower odds of sexual risk behaviors (e.g. having four or more lifetime sexual partners) and ever being tested for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among both LGB and heterosexual students but not with using a condom during last sexual intercourse among sexually active gay, bisexual, or heterosexual male students
  • Having a greater number of LGBTQ-supportive school policies and practices was significantly associated with lower odds of ever having sex for LGB students and with sexual risk behaviors and ever being tested for HIV for heterosexual students

This study “highlights the relationship between multifaceted LGBTQ-supportive school policies and practices and improving sexual health outcomes among both LGB and heterosexual students,” stressed the researchers. Development of these pro-LGBTQ initiatives, therefore, makes good sense.

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