Positive Trends in School-Based Practices to Support LGBTQ Youth in the United States Between 2010 and 2018

J Adolesc Health. 2022 May;70(5):810-816. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2021.11.027. Epub 2022 Feb 11.


Purpose: The present study tests the hypothesis that there has been a significant increase in the implementation of six LGBTQ-supportive school practices in US states between 2010 and 2018.

Methods: Data were drawn from the publicly available School Health Profiles reports published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Adolescent and School Health. We conducted unadjusted linear regression models separately for each practice to examine state-specific linear trends in the percentage of secondary schools reportedly engaging in six LGBTQ-supportive practices across all 50 states. In addition, we conducted an unadjusted linear regression on the trend to estimate changes in the median percentage of schools across all states engaging in each of the six practices through time.

Results: In 2010, 5.7% of schools reported implementing all six practices, which increased to 15.3% in 2018. In the period from 2010 to 2018, the implementation of four of six key practices increased significantly in more than half of US states. Most states experienced a mix of either increases in practices or no change in practice prevalence, with no state experiencing a significant decrease.

Discussion: There have been significant gains in the percentage of schools implementing LGBTQ-supportive practices. Yet, despite increases in the examined practices, the median percentage of schools in the United States that implement all six remains low. There is considerable room to improve on the use of these practices in schools across the United States, including increased attention to the quality of implementation and the barriers and facilitators to their instantiation.

Keywords: Adolescents; LGBTQ; School climate; School connectedness; School policy; Sexual and gender minority.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Humans
  • Schools
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities*
  • United States