VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.
School Counseling for Systemic Change: Bullying and Suicide Prevention for LGBTQ Youth
Jeffry L. Moe, Elsa Soto Leggett, and Dilani Perera-Diltz
By October 1st, 2010 the occurrence of five deaths by suicide of adolescent and young adult males, all the victims of anti-gay bullying and harassment, prompted the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), and the Trevor Project (a national suicide prevention organization specifically for LGBTQ Youth and their allies) to call for action at the school and community level to improve the social climate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth (GLSEN, PFLAG, and the Trevor Project Joint Statement, 2010). The national media attention surrounding the tragic deaths of the identified youths underscores research findings related to both the stresses that LGBTQ Youths face in schools (Busseri, Willoughby, Chalmers, & Bogaert, 2008; Elze, 2002; Varjas et al, 2006), as well as the use by bullies of homo-negative slurs and related behaviors against their intended victims regardless of the victims’ sexual orientation (Kosciw, Diaz, & Greytak, 2007). According to a press release from the Trevor Project: “In order to end the destructive behaviors that lead to bullying, harassment and rejection of young people who are or are perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning, it takes a cultural change.” (Trevor Project, 2010). Similarly, the GLSENPFLAG-Trevor Project joint statement asserts that: “The horrible instances of school bullying that have led young people to take their own lives reflect the growing need for a change in our culture to value the differences of our youth”. (GLSEN, PFLAG, & Trevor Project, 2010). These assertions by prominent advocacy groups highlight the need for action at both the individual-interpersonal level of interaction and also within the domain of systemic, social change.