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Study: Gay Youth Singled Out for Harsh Discipline


Proof that discrimination starts at the most basic level: a new study from Yale University shows that gay teens are nearly 40% more likely than their straight peers to be disciplined at school, with girls bearing the brunt of this burden--they are more than three times as likely to be punished as their peers.

As concern grows about the bullying and sucide of LGBT teens around the country--and the "it gets better" campaign attempts to give LGBT kids hope-- this study is the first of its kind to directly address the correlation between sexuality and gender identity and punishment in schools. The Washington Post reports on the study's findings:

The study, from Yale University, adds another layer, finding substantial disparities between gay and straight teens in school expulsions, arrests, convictions and police stops. The harsher approach is not explained by differences in misconduct, the study says. ...
Why the punishment gap exists is less clear. It could be that lesbian, gay and bisexual teens who got in trouble didn't get the same breaks as other teens - say, for youthful age or self-defense, Himmelstein said. Or it could be that girls in particular were punished more often because of discomfort with or bias toward some who don't fit stereotypes of femininity."

Homophobia can't be countered with statistics. Hopefully, studies like this will allow faculty and administrators to step up when they perceive bias, and maybe even encourage people in positions of authority over kids and teens to check their own unconscious bias as well.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at December 7, 2010, 4:16am

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