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A School Counselor’s Role in Reducing Homophobic Victimization. Holly Shepherd M.Ed Counselor Education ‘14, University of Virginia.
M.Ed Counselor Education ‘14,
University of Virginia
“By raising the level of conversation regarding issues of sexual orientation and implementing supports for LGBT students at multiple levels, school counselors can shepherd their schools toward meaningful and responsible change and their students toward further acceptance and opportunity.” (Depaul, Walsh, & Dam, 2009)
approves resolution to include LGBT youth in
International Human Rights Law
allow students to form GSA in public and Catholic
LGBT Student Experience
Sexual orientation: 84.6%verbally harassed; 40.1% physically harassed; 18.8%physically assaulted
Gender expression: 63.7%verbally harassed; 27.2%physically harassed; 12.5%physically assaulted
72.4%heard homophobic remarks (i.e. “faggot,” “dyke”)
29.1%LGBT students missed class because of safety concerns (compared to 8.0% secondary school students)
30%LGBT students missed whole days because of safety concerns (compared to 6.7% secondary school students)
GPA of LGBT students who were frequently harassed was half a grade lower than students less often harassed
Increased levels of victimization correlated with increased levels of depression and anxiety and decreased levels of self-esteem
96%LGBT students who missed school related to higher levels of victimization, but higher levels of psychological well-being
44.6%reported having a Gay-Straight Alliance at school
School Climate Over Time
Reported Positive Interventions and Support
Anti-bullying policy based on sexual orientation
Decline of hearing homophobic remarks from 2005-2009
Experiences of harassment remained constant
Decline in harassment from 2007-2009
Increase of LGBT-related resources available
Depression and anxiety
Loss of self-esteem and confidence
Suicidal ideation and behaviors
Fear of peer and parent rejection
Feelings of guilt and shame
Inability to concentrate
Lower levels of academic achievement
School counselors have been educated and trained to be “advocates, leaders, collaborators, and consultants who create opportunities for equity in access and success” (ASCA)
Ally: (n.) An ally is a member of a privileged group who takes a stand against oppression. An ally works to be a part of social change rather than being part of the oppression.
School counselors can provide support and guidance to teachers and students as they seek to form alliances. They can help promote dialogue.
Tips for starting a GSA at your school!
Adams, N., Cox, T., & Dunstan, L. (2004). “I am the hate that dare not speak its name”: Dealing with homophobia in secondary schools. Educational Psychology in Practice. 20(3), 259-269. doi: 10.1080/0266736042000251826
DePaul, J., Walsh, M., & Dam, U. (2009). The role of school counselors in addressing sexual orientation in school. Professional School Counseling, 12(4), 300-308.
Espelage, D., Aragon, S. R., Birkett, M., & Koenig, B. W. (2008). Homophobic teasing, psychological outcomes, and sexual orientation among high school students: What influence do parents and schools have? School Psychology Review. 37(2), 202-216.
Goodrich, K. M. & Luke, M. (2009). LGBTQ responsive school counseling. Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling. 3, 113-127. doi: 10.1080/15538600903005284
Graybill, E. C., Varjas, K., Meyers, J., & Watson, L. B. (2009). Content-specific strategies to advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth: An exploratory study. School Psychology Review. 38(4), 570-584.
Luke, M., Goodrich, K. M, & Scarborough, J. L. (2011). Integration of the K-12 LGBTQI student population in counselor education curricula: The current state of affairs. Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling. 5(2), 80-101. doi: 10.1080/15538605.2011.574530
Moe, J. L., Leggett, E. S., & Perera-Diltz, D. (2011). School counseling for systemic change: Bullying and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth. Ideas and Research You Can Use: VISTAS 2011, 81. 1-11.
Poteat, V. P., Mereish, E. H., DiGiovanni, C. D., & Koenig, B. W. (2011). The effects of general and homophobic victimization on adolescents’ psychosocial and educational concerns: The importance of intersecting identities and parent support. Journal of Counseling Psychology. 58(4), 597-609. doi: 10.1037/a0025095
Robinson, K. (2010). A study of young lesbian and gay people’s school experiences. Educational Psychlogy in Practice. 26(4), 331-351. doi:10.1080/02667363.2010.521308
Singh, A., Urbano, A., Haston, M., & McMahon, E. (2010). School counselors’ strategies for social justice change: A grounded theory of what works in the real world. Professional School Counseling. 13(3), 135-145.
Valenti, M. & Campbell, R. (2009). Working with youth on LGBT issues: Why gay-straight alliance advisors become involved. Journal of Community Psychology. 37(2), 228-248. doi: 10.1002/jcop.20290
Williams, T., Connolly, J., Pepler, D., & Craig, W. (2005). Peer victimization, social support, and psychosocial adjustment of sexual minority adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 34(5), 471-482. doi: 10.1007/s10964-005-7264-x