Welcome to the conversation!

Welcome to the conversation!

Harriet Beecher Stowe's (1811-1896) best-selling anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), made her the most famous American woman of the 19th century and galvanized the abolition movement before the Civil War.

The Stowe Center is a 21st-century museum and program center using Stowe's story to inspire social justice and positive change.

The Salons at Stowe programs are a forum to connect the challenging issues (race, gender and class) that impelled Stowe to write and act with the contemporary face of those same issues. The Salon format is based on a robust level of audience participation, with the explicit goal of promoting civic engagement. Recent topics included: Teaching Acceptance; Is Prison the New Slavery; Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North; Creativity and Change; Race, Gender and Politics Today; How to be an Advocate

This blog will expand the reach of these community conversations to the online audience. Add your posts and comments to keep the conversation going! Commit to action by clicking HERE to stay up to date on Salon and social justice news.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Research unveils the true power of gay-straight alliances in schools

Study: High schools with gay-straight alliances have reduced risk of student suicideA recent study published in the International Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies, and funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research, shows that "The presence of gay-straight alliance (GSA) groups in schools reduces the risk of suicide among both LGBTQ and straight teens." The report studied bullying towards both LGBTQ and straight students in grades 8-12 in British Columbia, Canada.

Some of the key findings of the report include:

In schools with gay-straight alliances implemented three or more years ago:

  • The odds of homophobic discrimination and suicidal thoughts were reduced by more than half among lesbian, gay, bisexual boys and girls compared to schools with no GSA.
  • There were also significantly lower odds of sexual orientation discrimination for heterosexual boys and girls.
  • Heterosexual boys were half as likely to attempt suicide as those in schools without GSAs.

In schools where anti-homophobic policies have been in place for more than three years:

  • The odds of suicidal thoughts and attempts for gay and bisexual boys were more than 70 per cent lower. Suicide attempts among lesbian and bisexual girls were two-thirds lower.
  • Heterosexual boys had 27 per cent lower odds of suicidal thoughts than heterosexual boys in schools without such policies.

For more about this study and the findings, we recommend reading Salon's "Study: High schools with gay-straight alliances have reduced risk of student suicide" and the University of British Columbia's "Gay-straight alliances in schools reduce suicide risk for all students." You can also read the report HERE or below.

Do your local schools have gay-straight alliances? Have you heard testaments to their success, whether it be a reduction in bullying or a greater acceptance of LGBTQ students? Share your comments below. 

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