Safe Spaces
Making Schools and Communities Welcoming to LGBT Youth
by Annemarie Vaccaro, Gerri August, and Megan S. Kennedy
November 2011, 192pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-39368-6
$55, £43, 48€, A76
eBook Available: 978-0-313-39369-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

A 2009 nationwide survey showed that 85 percent of our nation’s LGBT youth experience bullying at school. Abuse also occurs in our homes and communities. Recent suicides of LGBT youth testify to the devastating effects of this marginalization. But bullying and suicide are only part of the story; resilient LGBT youth and dedicated allies across the nation can transform schools and communities into safe spaces.

Based on extensive research, recent events, and numerous first-person accounts, this revealing book illuminates both the challenges and triumphs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, and offers effective strategies for combating LGBT marginalization in our nation's schools and communities.

Safe Spaces: Making Schools and Communities Welcoming to LGBT Youth is the first book to offer a comprehensive view of the complex lives of LGBT youth of all ages, from kindergarten through college. Drawing on a wealth of research collected from first-person accounts of students, family, educators, and community members, the authors not only chronicle the struggles of LGBT youth but also describe models of inclusive school and community environments.

The authors address the breadth of experiences of LGBT youth—in and out of the classroom, at home and in the community, and in personal interactions with allies and antagonists. They also reveal how these young people, their friends and families, teachers, and dedicated allies stem the tide of LGBT exclusion. Most important, Safe Spaces offers action steps for readers who want to make their own homes, schools, and communities safe and welcoming spaces for LGBT youth.


  • More than 80 real-life narratives, drawn from the stories of 100 people, including students, family members, educators, and community leaders
  • A "Queerossary" of dozens of key terms, including multiple definitions for terms with specific meanings within the LGBT community
  • A bibliography of academic, policy, and news materials related to LGBT issues
  • More than 50 action steps readers can use to create safe spaces for LGBT youth
  • Reflection Points provide questions and statements that offer readers an opportunity to reflect upon the ways a particular topic or issue relates to their lives
  • An appendix listing LGBT resources
Annemarie Vaccaro, PhD, is a faculty member in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Rhode Island. Her research on diversity and social justice in higher education has been published in journals such as The Journal of GLBT Family Studies, The Journal of LGBT Youth, and Equity and Excellence in Education.

Gerri August, PhD, is a member of the Foundations faculty in the Department of Educational Studies at Rhode Island College. Her research focus is transformative pedagogy. During the 2010–11 academic year, she was honored as an Education Alliance Fellow at Brown University.

Megan S. Kennedy, PhD, is a faculty member in the Department of Education at Westfield State University, Massachusetts. She has written and presented on the topic of Queer theory in teacher preparation and the use of LGBT-themed literature in the classroom at both regional and national conferences.


"Campus Pride commends the authors of this timely and thoughtful book. This is a 'must read' for anyone wanting to help make safer, more welcoming places for LGBT youth. All youth deserve a safe space to live, learn and grow. This resource provides invaluable insight for all those working with LGBT youth—especially colleges and universities."—Shane Windmeyer, Campus Pride, Founder/Executive Director

"Although K–12 schools and colleges could and should be welcoming and supportive environments for LGBTQ students, most are anything but safe spaces. The tremendous value of this book is that it provides a blueprint for how readers can advocate for educational institutions to fulfill this potential and better address the needs of LGBTQ students. For individuals wanting to learn about and do something to aid LGBTQ youth, Safe Spaces is a good place to start."—Genny Beemyn, PhD, Director at UMass Amherst Stonewall Center

"Safe Spaces: Making Schools and Communities Welcoming for LGBT Youth prompts reflection and action on the critical issue of LGBT youth safety. The issues are urgent, but we have learned so much about what works to address these problems since GLSEN began our work 20 years ago. [The authors] have provided an important overview of the current state of work in the field."—Eliza Byard, PhD, Executive Director, GLSEN
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