Proposition 8 Increased Homophobic Bullying in Schools without a Gay-Straight Alliance Club




Hatzenbuehler, Mark L.
Shen, Yishan
Vandewater, Elizabeth A.
Russell, Stephen T.

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University of Texas at Austin Population Research Center



This brief explores whether Proposition 8 (Prop 8), a November 2008 California voter referendum that restricted marriage to heterosexuals, was associated with an increase in homophobic bullying, or bullying related to actual or perceived sexual orientation, among California youth. Analyzing data from nearly 5 million California youth, PRC faculty research associate Stephen T. Russell and his colleagues find that homophobic bullying in California schools increased in the period leading up to the Prop 8 vote and declined in subsequent school years. No other forms of bullying (based on race/ethnicity, gender, or religion) showed a similar pattern. In addition, students at schools with gay-straight alliances did not report an increase in homophobic bullying, demonstrating a protective effect of GSAs.

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