Heteronormativity, school climates, and perceived safety for gender nonconforming peers

J Adolesc. 2012 Feb;35(1):187-96. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2011.03.001. Epub 2011 Apr 8.


Students' perceptions of their school climates are associated with psychosocial and academic adjustment. The present study examined the role of school strategies to promote safety in predicting students' perceptions of safety for gender nonconforming peers among 1415 students in 28 high schools. Using multilevel modeling techniques, we examined student- and school-level effects on students' perceptions of safety for gender nonconforming peers. We found that older students, bisexual youth, Latino youth, and youth who experienced school violence perceived their gender nonconforming male peers to be less safe. Similarly, we found that older students and students who experienced school violence and harassment due to gender nonconformity perceived their gender nonconforming female peers to be less safe. At the school-level, we found that when schools included lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) issues in the curriculum and had a Gay-Straight Alliance, students perceived their schools as safer for gender nonconforming male peers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bisexuality / psychology*
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Gender Identity
  • Homosexuality / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Peer Group
  • Safety
  • Schools
  • Sexual Harassment / psychology*
  • Social Environment*
  • Social Perception*
  • Students / psychology
  • Transsexualism / psychology*