Sexual and gender minoritized youth in Christian home schools: Perceptions of climate and support

Sloan Okrey Anderson, Benjamin J. Lough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 2014, Leelah Alcorn, a homeschooled transgender teenager in the United States, died by suicide after enduring months of social isolation and her parent’s repeated efforts to change her gender identity. Sexual and gender minoritized (SGM) youth who are, like Leelah, homeschooled in the U.S. do not have access to the institutional and relational supports afforded to SGM youth in public schools. This study examines how variations in educational setting, family support, internet access, and peer relationships influence mental health outcomes in a sample of 651 sexual and gender minoritized (SGM) young adults who were primarily homeschooled in Christian homes. Participants reported extremely high rates of mental illness (87%) suicidal ideation (72%), suicide attempts (22%) self-harm (66%), and substance abuse (29%). Regression analysis revealed that a positive family attitude toward SGM people (although rare) and access to the internet were the most significant protective factors against negative mental health outcomes in this sample. This study explores the unique vulnerabilities of SGM youth in Christian homeschool settings and has implications for educators, policy makers, health care providers, and mental health and social service professionals. To our knowledge, this is the first study to explore the experiences of homeschooled SGM youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)438-458
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of LGBT Youth
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021


  • LGBT youth
  • adolescents
  • educational policy
  • family
  • homophobia
  • mental health
  • religion
  • suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'Sexual and gender minoritized youth in Christian home schools: Perceptions of climate and support'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this