Faculty Publications


Challenging the sounds of silence: A qualitative study of Gay-Straight Alliances and school reform efforts.

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

Tiffany Chenneville

Document Type


Publication Date


Date Issued

May 2011

Date Available

November 2011


We explore the efficacy of one increasingly familiar strategic intervention designed to disrupt antigay school environments--Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs). Despite the increasing popularity of GSAs, there has been little research on the ways in which they d0--and do not--impact school climate. The ubiquity of antigay and homophobic attitudes throughout schools highlights the importance of documenting the advantages and disadvantages of this tactical intervention. Using research with GSA student members, GSA advisors, high school principals, and district-level administrators from a case study of high schools, we identify school practices that either support or destabilize antigay school environments: Silence and passive resistance, the provision of safe spaces, and attempts and challenges to breaking the silence. We then explore the limitations of current efforts to create safe-school environments for sexual minority youth and end by discussing how systemic school reform efforts could be used to transform the broader social context.


Abstract only. Full-text article is available only through licensed access provided by the publisher. Published in Education and Urban Society, 45(3), 307-339. DOI: 10.1177/0013124511409400. Members of the USF System may access the full-text of the article through the authenticated link provided.




Sage Publications