Discussing transgender topics within gay-straight alliances: Factors that could promote more frequent conversations

V. Paul Poteat, Jerel P. Calzo, Hirokazu Yoshikawa, sj Miller, Christopher J. Ceccolini, Sarah Rosenbach, Nina Mauceri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Gay-straight alliances (GSAs) have potential to facilitate conversations on transgender and gender-diversity issues among members. We examined how frequently GSA members discussed transgender and gender-diversity topics within GSAs, whether GSAs varied from one another in the extent to which these conversations occurred, and identified factors that distinguished which members and GSAs discussed such topics more often than others. Methods: Participants were 295 members of 33 high school GSAs in the state of Massachusetts who completed surveys that assessed their experiences within their GSA. Results: On average, youth discussed transgender and gender-diversity issues with some regularity, but this varied significantly across GSAs and among youth within each GSA. Youth who had transgender friends, perceived a more respectful GSA climate, and accessed more information/resources and engaged in more advocacy within the GSA reported more frequently discussing transgender and gender-diversity issues. Also, GSAs with transgender members, whose members collectively perceived a more respectful climate, accessed more information/resources and did more advocacy, and who reported lower socializing or support discussed transgender and gender-diversity issues more frequently than other GSAs. Conclusions: This information could inform GSA programming to facilitate more transgender and gender-diversity topic discussions and ensure that members feel encouraged to participate in them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-131
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Transgenderism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 3 2018


  • Gay-straight alliance
  • high school
  • lesbian, gay, bisexual youth
  • transgender youth
  • youth programs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies


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