A gay straight alliance can serve as a support for students facing many difficult obstacles including a higher suicide risk and bullying, but it can also educate others in hopes of decreasing the amount of discrimination that gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or questioning students face at school.


    Obstacles include Bullying:
    According to the National Mental Health Association the following research has been compiled:
    Bullying in Schools: Harassment Puts Gay Youth at Risk
    While trying to deal with all the challenges of being a teenager, gay/ lesbian/ bisexual/ transgender (GBLT) teens additionally have to deal with harassment, threats, and violence directed at them on a daily basis. They hear anti-gay slurs such as "homo", "faggot", and "sissy" about 26 times a day or once every 14 minutes. [1]

    Even more troubling, a study found that thirty one percent of gay youth had been threatened or injured at school in the last year alone! [2] Their mental health and education, not to mention their physical well-being, are at-risk.

    How is their mental health being affected?
    Gay and lesbian teens are at high rick because 'their distress is a direct result of the hatred and prejudice that surround them,' not because of their inherently gay or lesbian identity orientation. [3]
    Gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth are two to three times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual counterparts. [4]
    How is their education being affected?

    Gay teens in U.S. schools are often subjected to such intense bullying that they're unable to receive an adequate education. [5] They're often embarrassed or ashamed of being targeted and may not report the abuse.

    GLBT students are more apt to skip school due to the frea, threats,a nd property vandalism directed at them. [6] One survey revealed that 22 percent of gay respondents had skipped school in the past month because they felt unsafe there. [7]
    Twenty-eight percent of gay students will drop out of school. This is more than three times the national average for heterosexual students. [8]
    GLBT youth feel they have nowhere to turn. According to several surveys, four out of five gay and lesbian students say they don't know one supportive adult at school. [9]
    Another Obstacle is the Suicide Risk:

    Suicide attempts among trans men (46%) and trans women (42%) were slightly higher than the full sample (41%). Cross-dressers assigned male at birth have the lowest reported prevalence of suicide attempts among gender identity groups (21%).

    According to information compiled by the Amercian Association of Suicidology:
     Eisenberg and Resnick (2004) found that family connectedness, caring adults, and school safety



    serve as protective factors from suicide for LGB individuals.



    Many studies have found that LGB youth attempt suicide more frequently than straight peers.

    Garafalo et al. (1999) found that LGB high school students and students unsure of their sexual

    orientation were 3.4 times more likely to have attempted suicide in the last year than their

    straight peers. Eisenberg and Resnick (2006) found LGB high school students were more than

    twice as likely as their straight peers to have attempted suicide.

    Safren and Heimberg (1999) found that among youth who had attempted suicide, almost twice as

    many LGB youth as their straight peers said that they had really hoped to die.

    Little research has been done about transgender individuals, but in one study of adults and young

    adults 30.1 percent of transgender individuals surveyed reported having ever attempted suicide

    (Kenagy, 2005). For US adults overall, 4.6 percent of adults and young adults report having ever

    attempted (Kessler et al., 1999).

    Ryan et al. (2009) found that family acceptance was important for LGB youth, in fact LGB youth

    who experienced severe family rejection were more than 8 times more likely to report having

    attempted suicide compared with peers from families with little or no rejection.