Meg

Meg

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) Students “Unsafe” in Missouri Schools - GLSEN’s 2017 National School Climate Survey 

Post Written By: Lucy Puckett, TPPP Practicum Student 

Findings from the 2017 National School Climate Survey (NSCS) by GLSEN--the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (pronounced “glisten”)--uncovered devastating realities for Missouri youth and points to the need for community partners to continue to rally behind strategic implementation of LGBTQ+ inclusion in our schools. The NSCS reveals that most LGBTQ+ Missouri teens experience targeted, anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination, often in the form of physical assault, in their schools. 

One of the findings, that 19% of Missouri students surveyed were prohibited from forming a GSA in 2017, is timely, as some local schools have come under scrutiny in the last year for prohibiting the formation of GSAs or have faced backlash from parents for allowing them. A GSA, or, Gender and Sexuality Alliance (formerly referred to as a Gay-Straight Alliance), is a voluntary, student-led organization which provides “a safe place for students to meet, support each other, and talk about issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression” (GSA Network, n.d., para. 1).

“School-based supports such as supportive and inclusive school policies, school personnel who are supportive of LGBTQ students, GSAs, and LGBTQ-inclusive curricular resources can positively affect school climate for LGBTQ students” (GLSEN, 2019, p. 2). 

Further, only 14% of students reported having LGBTQ inclusive curriculum of any type taught in their schools, a number that has stayed the same since GLSEN’s 2013 NSCS. Additionally, only 3% of students surveyed reported receiving inclusive sex education. According to the CDC’s reports on Health Risks Among Sexual Minority Youth, LGBTQ youth are at higher risk than non-LGTBQ+ students of experiencing dating violence or forced sex, and are more vulnerable to some sexual risk behavior and unintended pregnancy (CDC, 2019).

Importantly, however, GLSEN notes in the full, nationwide study: “This report also demonstrates LGBTQ youth’s resilience, even in the face of hostile environments, and highlights the ways LGBTQ students are engaging in school, and taking steps to improve their schools and communities” (Kosciw et al., 2018, p. 4). 

 

Findings in Missouri

Below is a summary of key findings taken from GLSEN’s Missouri State Snapshot. We encourage you to look at the state snapshot and the full report, which include helpful graphics and summaries, and to share them within your agencies and communities. 

  • The vast majority of LGBTQ students in Missouri regularly (sometimes, often, or frequently) heard anti-LGBTQ remarks. Many also regularly heard school staff make homophobic remarks (23%) and negative remarks about someone’s gender expression (44%). Fewer than 1 in 10 (7%) attended a school with a comprehensive anti-bullying/harassment policy that included specific protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.
  • Most LGBTQ students in Missouri experienced anti-LGBTQ victimization at school. Only 18% of students who reported incidents said it resulted in effective staff intervention.
  • More than 1 in 3 LGBTQ students (36%) and nearly 3 in 4 transgender students (72%) were unable to use the school restroom aligned with their gender.
  • The vast majority (96%) could identify at least one school staff member supportive of LGBTQ students, but fewer (55%) could identify 6 or more supportive school staff. Approximately 2 in 5 (44%) had access to a GSA or similar student club which provides a safe and affirming space and promotes a more welcoming school climate for LGBTQ students. 
  • Approximately 1 in 10 (14%) were taught positive representations of LGBTQ people, history, or events (“inclusive curriculum”). Only 3% reported receiving LGBTQ-inclusive sex education at school.

 

Action 

Recommendations & Resource Guide

Below are GLSEN’s recommendations along with links to our resource pages that include online, local, and regional resources. To download all resource pages, click here

“Given the high percentages of LGBTQ students in Missouri who experience harassment at school and the limited access to key resources and supports that can have a positive effect on their school experiences, it is critical that Missouri school leaders, education policymakers, and other individuals who are obligated to provide safe learning environments for all students take the following steps” (GLSEN, 2019, p.2):

1. Implement supportive and inclusive school policies, such as comprehensive anti-bullying/harassment and supportive transgender and gender nonconforming student policies
Click here to download a list of resources related to this recommendations. 

2. Support GSAs
Click here to download a list of resources related to this recommendations. 

3. Provide professional development for school staff, families and healthcare providers on LGBTQ student issues   
Click here to download a list of resources related to this recommendations.  

4. Increase student access to LGBTQ-inclusive curricular resources

Click here to download a list of resources related to this recommendations. 

 

Visit the Links Below for More Missouri-based Resources for LGBTQ+ youth and adults 

 

References

CDC, & Division of Adolescent and School Health, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. (2019, January 1). Sexual Minority Youth | Disparities | Adolescent and School Health | CDC. Retrieved March 1, 2019, from https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/disparities/smy.htm 

Kosciw, J. G., Greytak, E. A., Zongrone, A. D., Clark, C. M., & Truong, N. L. (2018). The 2017 National School Climate Survey: The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth in our nation’s schools. New York: GLSEN.

GLSEN. (2019). School Climate in Missouri (State Snapshot). New York: GLSEN. 

GSA Network. (n.d.). What is a GSA. Retrieved March 1, 2019, from https://gsanetwork.org/what-is-a-gsa/

Thursday, 17 May 2018 18:15

Teen Pregnancy Report Released

Every May brings reflection as it has traditionally been Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. Thanks to dedicated volunteers and data from state and national sources, we are proud to present a new report on teen pregnancy/birth and adolescent sexual health in Missouri.

Even as teen births have declined in recent years, there continue to be areas of Missouri where rates remain high. Rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have not seen the same downward trend and other health and community outcomes vary widely between Missouri counties. In the report Teen Pregnancy and Adolescent Sexual Health in Missouri: Factors, Trends, and Impact (which can be downloaded at the bottom of this page), data is combined in multiple ways to highlight counties and regions of our state where the health of young people is being impacted. This report is intended to provide an overview of existing resources and trends that draws stakeholders together to explore local data, gather additional input from young people, and create programs that will promote adolescent sexual health. 

We hope this report is only the beginning of more discussion and local partnership to support young people in creating the future they want for themselves and their community. It is also being released at a critical time as the Department of Health and Human Services recently announced the federal funding opportunity for the Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Program. For more information related to the report or for ideas on how the Teen Pregnancy & Prevention Partnership can support your community in promoting adolescent sexual health, please contact TPPP.

Saturday, 27 January 2018 18:35

Technology Trends & Tools

On Friday January 19th TPPP members gathered for the first 2018 Professional Development event, Technology Trends & Tools. This event was held at the Thomas Dunn Learning Center (3113 Gasconade Street St Louis, MO 63118) which will be the location for all bi-monthly professional development events in 2018.

Technology Trends & Tools was facilitated by Meg Boyko, and featured a webinar from Answer, a Rutgers agency which provides information about teen health and sexuality in a variety of media forms. Answer’s award-winning website and magazine Sex, Etc. is created by teens for teens. Their website features a state by state breakdown of laws regarding adolescent sexuality, FAQ where teens answer submitted questions, trivia games to test your knowledge on birth control methods, and more.

Attendees discussed how digital media affects young adults and teens in relation to the National Sexuality Education Standards. Some of the pros of digital media included; easily accessed sexuality information through internet access, LGBTQIAA students being able to reach out and find community through technology, and facts about birth control methods being readily available. Cons discussed were; the rise in cyber bullying, body negativity based on impossible beauty standards featured on venues such as Instagram, and the possibility of young people not being capable of distinguishing medically-accurate websites from non-evidence-based (or even misleading) websites.

Technology trends were shared throughout the event, including data on what mobile apps teens are using most often. The most popular app in 2017 among young people ages 12 to 24, with a 79% use rate, was Snapchat. This was followed closely by Facebook at 76% and Instagram at 73%. Attendees broke into small groups and explored other apps including WhatsApp, Omegle, and Musical.ly. The groups considered the possible benefits and drawbacks of each of these apps for teens.

Apps can also be used for sexual health and personal safety. Attendees looked at the Bedsider Birth Control App, Eve, and Circle of Six and considered their features and utility. Several attendees noted that the Bedsider Birth Control App and Eve featured gendered language that may not be inclusive to all users. An alternative, which does not appear gendered in its design or language, is Clue.

TPPP members and partners are also encouraged to explore sexual health resource websites and evaluate them for quality of information. Three suggestions for further exploration are Amaze, Common Sense Media, and Planned Parenthood. Attendees contributed other ideas for resource websites, including Scarleteen which features a Sex and Disability section, and Adventures in Sex City which is a game for young adults to build knowledge in a fun interactive way.

March 3rd TPPP will present Not Another Trivia Night, a chance to test your knowledge about sexual health while having fun! Then, March 9th at the Thomas Dunn Learning Center please join us for our next Professional Development event. If you have a new email, or are interested in joining the TPPP email list for updates and reminders, please reach out to Meg Boyko at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thursday, 19 October 2017 15:30

Networking Meeting Wrap Up

On October 13, members of Teen Pregnancy & Prevention Partnership and sexual health educators from across the St. Louis region met for a networking and information-sharing event. More than 15 organizations were represented along with individuals working in the community. The group provided valuable feedback to TPPP about the barriers they face providing sexual health education in the St. Louis region, as well as, information about what professional development topics they need to be supported in their work. You can download a summary of the feedback below.

At the end of the event, TPPP previewed a new youth-friendly service directory

For more information about the event or how to partner with TPPP, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Monday, 01 May 2017 17:06

April Wrap Up - STD Awareness Month

By Desiree Young, TPPP Volunteer Blogger

The month of April was dedicated to the awareness of Sexual transmitted Infections (STIs) and sexually transmitted diseases (STDS), so we wanted to make sure you start May up to date!

What is an STI?

According to the American Sexual Health Association, sexually transmitted infections are infections caused by a transmitted virus or bacteria that can be spread through sexual contact.  STIs were previously referred to as STDs, but were changed to STIs due to the term "disease" indicating an apparent medical problem that has no obvious symptoms; and most STIs do not show signs until they reach a critical stage, then it is classified as a STD. Both STIs and STDs can be passed through sexual contact.  Last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are starting to become resistance to the antibiotics used to treat the infections. The 2015 Missouri Youth Risk Behavior Survey showed that high school students who report having sexual intercourse declined from 46.7 percent to 37.7 percent from 2005 to 2015, and the number of high school students who report using a condom during sex decreased from 67.2 to 56.4.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that there were 19538 chlamydia cases in Missouri for people who were between the ages 15-24 and there were 4477 Gonorrhea cases. In 2016, the Saint Louis Dispatch reported that the St. Louis region ranked 8th for gonorrhea and 17th for chlamydia. While the current statistics may be discouraging, we must continue to spread awareness and positive prevention messaging to prevent the rates from increasing. To find out the current STD rates in Missouri by county, click here.

Protecting Yourself

Preventing STIs/STDs first starts with education. Parents, educators, community members and peers can join the fight against STIs/STDs by educating one another and by having honest conversations about STIs/STDs. Abstinence is an safe and effective option for STIs/STDs prevention, but there are others, including barrier methods. When condoms are used correctly (perfect use), there is a 98% percent success rate. For more information on how to properly use condoms, click here.

Resources & Useful Links

Many organizations throughout the state are dedicated to ensuring that teens receive medically-accurate information about STIs/STDs and preventing STIs/STDs. Health Departments often provide information on free condom distribution locations. In St. Louis, visit stlcondoms.com and in Kansas City, visit http://igotmineinkc.org/  

STDs among Young People 15-24 Years of Age in Missouri 2013

Correct Way to use condoms

Center for Disease STD awareness campaign

Stay teen

Teen source

Thank you to everyone for your support in our second “non-event”,  Not Another Trivia Night – Anniversary Edition. We appreciate your participation and donations in support of our mission.  If you missed it, we hope you can join us next time!  You can keep up with our events by following our social media pages:   (www.facebook.com/TPPPMO) or Twitter (@TPPPMO). If you want to browse this year’s trivia questions, we’ve put them here for you or they are still posted our social media pages.  Are you having trouble finding the answers? Don't worry; there’s a link that directs you to the sources