News & Updates

SOGI Health and Rights in the News

3/30/2018 Using Chosen Names Reduces Odds of Depression and Suicide in Transgender Youths

Check out the link above to read about a new study our lab just published in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Using one of the largest community samples of transgender youth, we find that for youth who have a chosen name that is different from the name given to them at birth, depression and suicidal risk are significantly lower.

You can read additional discussions of the study by visiting the alternative links listed below:

9/18/2017 Victimization of Transgender Youths Linked to Suicidal Thoughts, Substance Abuse

Two of our peer-reviewed papers are the first to use representative, population-based data to document the heightened risk of suicide and substance abuse for transgender youth. Our researchers suggest that taking steps to reduce depression and victimization at school can minimize these risks.

You can read discussion of the papers on the alternative links listed below:

7/26/2017Commentary: Prejudices of bathroom bill will play out in Texas schools

In this op-ed published in the Austin American-Statesman, Dr. Russell discusses the proposed transgender bathroom legislation in Texas and the impact it has on school climate and child development. Russell writes, “Public debates about the dignity and worth of individual people and groups of people are toxic, especially to children.”

You can also check out the following alternate links:

7/6/2017 New UT Study shows economic cost of bullying

“A new study from UT’s School of Human Ecology shows the economic cost of bullying. According to the study, many states could potentially lose tens of millions of dollars in funding when children miss school due to feeling unsafe.” (from the Daily Texan)

You can read other discussions of the study in the media below:

6/29/2017 Bullying and bias can cost schools millions in lost funding

“New research from The University of Texas at Austin published in School Psychology Quarterly highlights the hidden cost to communities in states that use daily attendance numbers to calculate public school funding. When children are afraid to go to school because classmates target them because of bias against their race, gender, religion, disability or sexual orientation, schools lose tens of millions of dollars each year linked to this absenteeism.” (from UT News)

Alternate link from

6/25/2017Celebrating pride with pride

On the importance of pride, even now (from the Daily Texan).

5/1/2017 The impact of stigma and discrimination against LGBT people in Texas

Texas’s legal landscape and social climate contribute to an environment in which LGBT people are at risk of experiencing stigma and discrimination, according to a new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law.

“State laws in Texas do not protect LGBT people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, and local ordinances protect less than one-fifth of Texas’s residents from such discrimination,” said Christy Mallory, State & Local Policy Director and Anna M. Curren Fellow at the Williams Institute and co-author of the report.  “Additionally, Texas ranks in the bottom quarter of states in terms of social support for LGBT people, although support is increasing over time.”

2/23/2017 UT researcher studies the relationship between LGBTQ alcohol use and wellbeing 

Check out this article from the Daily Texan about Dr. Jessica Fish’s work investigating how experiences of discrimination and victimization can have a lasting impact on the alcohol use and general health of LGBTQ youth as they age into adulthood.

2/22/2017 The Future of Labels: A Glimpse into the Use of Sexual Identities Today

This article from the Columbia Chronicle discusses the increasing complexity of labels for sexual orientation and gender identity, and whether or not these labels have value any longer for younger generations.

1/26/2017 – Commentary: Punitive practices do not keep children safer at school

Op-ed by Jack Day

Postdoctoral research fellow Jack Day published an op-ed in the Austin American-Statesman on the stark reality of homophobic bullying in schools and how to best support victims of this bullying. Day writes, “Schools often turn to punitive practices to deter negative behavior… But these practices are not getting the job done… However, youth reports of homophobic bullying were lower in schools with more supportive practices, such as considering discipline on a case-by-case basis and providing counseling services to address behavioral issues.”

9/6/2016 – How Can Improving Data Collection and Reporting Advance the Civil Rights of LGBT Students?

A new PRC Research Brief focuses on a recent article by Dr. Stephen Russell published in Discipline Disparities: A Research-to-Practice Collaborative. The article shows the importance of collecting data based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). Read the PRC Research Brief here and the full article here.

8/25/2016 Going Back to School is Risky Business for Some Youths

A new nationwide report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found lesbian, gay and bisexual students are significantly more likely to experience bullying and violence on school property compared with heterosexual students. Not surprisingly, these experiences of violence are strongly linked to behavior and mental health risks, such as higher rates of alcohol and drug use and suicide risk. In order to ensure that all students can attend schools where they feel safe, Texas needs school policies and programs to reduce discrimination and violence. Dr. Russell describes some policies that schools can implement to allow all students to thrive.

3/28/2016 Documenting Disparities for LGBT Students: Expanding the Collection and Reporting of Data on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

This new paper from the The Equity Project at Indiana University urges lawmakers to collect more data about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students to protect them from bullying and unfair discipline at school. The report notes that although high levels of bullying and harassment in schools of LGBT students has been well-documented, and emerging data suggests that LGBT also are more likely to experience disproportionate rates of suspension and expulsion from school, “The absence of consistent sources of data that include SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) and its intersections with school bullying and discipline makes it impossible to understand the extent of the problem or generate approaches for remediation.”

Click on the link above to read the full report, and check out mentions of the report in the press at:

  • Morning Education at Politico (Under the heading: Data constraints make it hard to know…)
  • The Washington Post: Should schools ask students about their sexual orientation to protect LGBT rights?
  • The Detroit News: Study: Schools need more data on LGBT students
  • Education Week: Data lacking about how LGBT students are treated at school, researchers say
  • Indiana Public Media: Study: LGBT youth left out of suspension, expulsion reduction efforts
  • The Daily Texan: Population Research Center examines lack of data for LGBT students

3/2/2016 Tucson Weekly Q&A with Jack Simmons

Jack Simons is a researcher involved in the Tucson branch of the federally funded Generations Study, a long term investigation into the experiences of individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, and bisexual. Simons and collegues have interviewed more than 50 Tucsonans and they are looking for more. Similar interviews are being conducted by Generations Study researchers in San Francisco, New York, and Austin, Texas.

3/2/2016 To Stop Trans Kids from Killing Themselves, Shocking Study Says ‘Accept Them’

The transgender community has disproportionately high levels of depression and anxiety. Though some physicians have suggested this is a fundamental part of being trans, a new study shows that trans kids who are accepted display virtually the same rates of mental illness as the general population.

2/10/2016 Policies on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Pay Off for Schools

Check out this link to read about a new study our lab just published in the Journal of School Psychology. The study used data collected from teachers and principals across California to confirm that policies and programs that focus on sexual orientation and gender identity make a difference to reduce bullying. Specifically, in schools those judged as least safe by teachers reports of bullying are lower when principals reported more policies to address and support sexual orientation and gender identity. Even more striking, general bullying prevention policies were not associated with lower bullying.

11/12/2015A ‘Teachable Moment’ About LGBT Rights

In this op-ed for the Houston Chronicle, Dr. Russell writes about the vote to overturn the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO). Legal and policy battles about LGBT lives can be toxic to teens’ mental and physical health. Parents, teachers and other adults need to talk with kids about everyone’s need to feel safe and respected.

Generations Launches in Austin

The Generations study is the first long-term study to examine health and well-being across three generations of lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals (LGB). This national study has already been working to gather the stories of LGB folks in San Francisco, CA, New York, NY, and Tucson, AZ and we’re excited to add Austin, TX to the list.