Resources collected by Youth Pride Inc.
LGBTQQ young people often feel unsupported, isolated, and invisible. A hostile environment that often regards them as immoral or sick reinforces these feelings. Unlike other victims of oppression, LGBTQQ youth often cannot turn to their families for support — indeed, the family may affirm the hostility of the larger environment, including forcing the young person from the home.
The following statistics provide a vivid illustration of the reasons we all need to be concerned with the experiences of LGBTQQ youth. They are arranged by suicide, verbal harrassment, isolation, depression, violence, homelssness, substance abuse and transgender-specific statistics.
- 36.5 % of GLB youth grades 9-12 have attempted suicide. 20.5% of those attempts resulting in medical care. (Robin, L., Brener, N.D., Donahue, S.F., Hack, T., Hale, K., Goodenow, C. (2002). Associations between health risk behaviors and opposite-, same-, and both-sex sexual partners in representative samples of Vermont and Massachusetts high school students. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 156(4): pp. 349-55.)
- Gay and lesbian youth are 2 to 3 times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual young people. (Rotheram–Borus, M., Hunter, J., & Rosario, M. (1994). Suicidal behavior and gay-related stress among gay and bisexual male adolescents. Journal of adolescent research, 9 (4), pp. 498 – 508.)
- As many as 1 in 3 gay and lesbian youth have attempted suicide. (Remafedi, G., Farrow, J.A., & Deisher, R.W. (1991). Risk factors for attempted suicide in gay and bisexual youth. Pediatrics, 87, pp. 869–875.)
- In a 1998 health survey conducted by Youth Pride, Inc. aimed at LGBTQQ youth, 58% of respondents reported that they had felt suicidal as teenagers.
- According to a 1999 study reported using data collected among Massachusetts high school students in 1995, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and questioning high school students were more than three (3.41) times more likely to report having attempted suicide than their straight peers. (Garofalo, R., Wolf, R.C., Wissow, L.S., Woods, E.R., Goodman, E. Sexual orientation and risk of suicide attempts among a representative sample of youth. Archive of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine. 1999 May;153(5):pp. 487-93.)
- A 2002 survey found that 21% of men who have sex with men had made plans to attempt suicide; 12% reported actually having made the attempt, and of those, nearly half had made multiple attempts. Most who attempted suicide had made their first attempt before age 25. (Paul, J., Catania, J., Pollack, L., Moskowitz, J., Canchola, J., Mills, T., Binson D., Stall R. Suicide attempts among gay and bisexual men: lifetime prevalence and antecedents. American Journal of Public Health. 2002 Aug;92(8):pp. 1338-45.)
- 84% of LGBT students report being verbally harassed (name calling, threats, etc.) because of their sexual orientation.
- 91.5% of LGBT students report hearing homophobic remarks, such as “faggot,” “dyke” or the expression “that’s so gay” frequently or often.
- 44.7% of LGBT youth of color report being verbally harassed because of both their sexual orientation and race/ethnicity.
- Students who experience frequent verbal harassment because of their sexual orientation are less likely than other students to plan to attend college. 13.4% of LGBT students who report verbal harassment do not intend to go to college, twice the figure of those LGBT students who report only rare or less frequent verbal harassment (6.7%).
- 82.9% of LGBT students report that faculty or staff never intervened or intervened only some of the time when present and homophobic remarks were made.
(All from GLSEN. (2003). The 2003 national school climate survey: the school related experiences of our nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.)
- A 2006 report by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force describes the 'Hell Houses' created by right-wing religious groups as an alternative to traditional haunted houses, with the intention of scaring children into a sin-free life. Homosexuality is featured as a damnable sin in these displays, with depictions of the 'sinner' burning in Hell, a lesbian teenager committing suicide, and a male couple at their marriage being forced to swear never to believe that they're 'normal.' It is estimated that 1.6 million people, some as young as 10 years old, visited 'Hell Houses' in 2006. (Kennedy, S. and Cianciotto, J. (2006). Homophobia at "Hell House": Literally demonizing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. New York: National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute, http://thetaskforce.org/downloads/reports/reports/Homophobia_Hell_House.pdf.
- In a 2005 GLSEN survey of LGBT youth, 90% reported experiencing verbal or physical harassment or verbal assault in the past year. (Harris Interactive & GLSEN (2005). From teasing to torment: School climate in America - a survey of students and teachers. Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.)
- 97% of high school students report hearing homophobic remarks regularly from peers. (Massachusetts Governor’s commission on gay and lesbian youth. (1993). Making schools safe for gay and lesbian youth.)
- 53% of students report hearing homophobic comments made by school staff. (Philadelphia lesbian and gay task force. (1992). Discrimination and violence towards lesbian women and gay men in the Philadelphia and the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.)
- 80% of gay and bisexual youth report severe problems with cognitive, social, or emotional isolation. (Hetrick-Martin Institute (1992). Fact file: lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth. New York.)
- 50% of lesbian and gay youth report parental rejection because of their sexual orientation. (Remafedi, G. (1987). Male homosexuality: the adolescent’s perspective. Pediatrics, 79, 326–330.)
- 4 out of 5 students in school don’t know 1 supportive adult in their school environment. (Massachusetts High School Students and Sexual Orientation Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2001.)
- A 2002 study of recent participants in an 'ex-gay' conversion program reported that, out of 202 participants, only 8 reported being completely 'cured.' Out of those 8, seven were employed by the program as counselors, four of whom were paid. 176 of the participants were classified as 'failures,' and of these, 155 reported significant long-term harm, including depression and suicidal thoughts, complete loss of religious faith, and deteriorating relationships with family and friends. 18 of the participants were forced to undergo shock therapy and induced vomiting. (Shidlo, A & Schroeder, M. (2002). Changing sexual orientation: A consumer’s report. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 33(3), 249-259.)
- In a study of depression and gay youth, researchers found depression strikes gay youth four to five times more severely than their non-gay peers. (Hammelman, T.L. (1993). Gay and lesbian youth: contributing factors to serious attempts or considerations of suicide. Journal of gay and lesbian psychotherapy, 2(1), 77-89.)
- Eighty-three percent of respondents in YPI’s 1998 health survey considered themselves depressed.
- 64.3% of LGBT students report feeling unsafe at their school because of their sexual orientation. (GLSEN. (2003). The 2003 national school climate survey: the school related experiences of our nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.)
- In one study, 41% of self-identified gay and lesbian young people reported violence at the hands of families, peers, or strangers. (Hunter, J. (1990). Violence against lesbian and gay male youths. Journal of interpersonal violence, 5(3), 295-300.)
- Sexual minority students were more than twice as likely to report being in a physical fight at school in the prior year (31.5% of sexual minority students vs. 12.9% of others).
- Sexual minority students more often reported that they had missed school in the past month because they felt unsafe (19.1% of sexual minority students vs. 5.6% of others).
(Above two from Massachusetts Department of Education. (1999). The 1999 Massachusetts youth risk behavior survey (MYRBS). Massachusetts department of education HIV/AIDS program and the disease control and prevention (CDC)).
- A 2002 study found that bisexual students were three to six times more likely than their straight classmates to be threatened or injured with a weapon at school. (Robin L., Brener N.D., Donahue S.F., Hack T., Hale K., Goodenow C. Associations between health risk behaviors and opposite-, same-, and both-sex sexual partners in representative samples of Vermont and Massachusetts high school students. Archive of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine. 2002 Apr. 156(4):349-55.)
- FBI data shows that in 2005, 13.8% of hate crimes in the U.S.A., a total of 1,213 attacks, were motivated by bias against the victim's sexual orientation. 61.3% of those were committed against men who were or were perceived to be gay, while 1.9% of victims were or were perceived to be straight. (Robin L., Brener N.D., Donahue S.F., Hack T., Hale K., Goodenow C. Associations between health risk behaviors and opposite-, same-, and both-sex sexual partners in representative samples of Vermont and Massachusetts high school students. Archive Pediatric Adolescent Medicine. 2002 Apr. 156(4):349-55.)
- A 2001 study found that LGBQ teenagers are more likely to experience, witness, and/or perpetrate violence than their straight peers. (Russell S.T., Franz B.T., Driscoll A.K. Same-sex romantic attraction and experiences of violence in adolescence. Adolscent Journal of Public Health. 2001 Jun. 91(6):903-6.)
- A 2002 study found that LGB students who are victims of violence at school have elevated risk of suicidal and other health-risk behavior. (Bontempo, D., D'Augelli, A. (2002). Effects of at-school victimization and sexual orientation on lesbian, gay, or bisexual youths' health risk behavior. Journal of Adolescent Health. May;30(5):pp. 364-74.)
- According to a 2006 report, between 20 and 40 percent of homeless youth in the US identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. 26% of LGBT youth who come out to their parents are told to leave home. Many also report experiencing abuse both from family members and in shelters. (Ray, N. (2006). Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth: An epidemic of homelessness. New York: National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute and the National Coalition for the Homeless. )
- 65% of 400 homeless LGBTQ youth report having been in a child welfare placement at some point in the past. (Berberet, H. (2006). Putting the pieces together for queer youth: a model of integrated assessment of need and program planning. Child Welfare Jounral. Vol. 85, No.2, 2006.)
- 26% of gay youth are forced to leave home because of conflicts with their families over their sexual identities. (Remafedi, G. (1987). Homosexuality: the adolescent’s perspective. Pediatrics, 79, 326-330.)
- Up to half of the gay or bisexual men forced from their homes engage in prostitution to support themselves, greatly increasing their risk for HIV infection. (Savin-Williams, R. C. (1988). Theoretical perspectives for accounting for adolescent homosexuality. Journal of adolescent health care, 9 (2), 95-104.)
- Half of a sampling of gay and lesbian young people in out-of-home care reported having been homeless at some point in the past. (Mallon, Gerald, P. (1998). We don’t exactly get the welcome wagon: the experiences of gay and lesbian adolescents in the child welfare systems. Columbia University Press.)
- 68% of adolescent gay males use alcohol and 44% use other drugs. 83% of lesbians use alcohol and 56% use other drugs. (Hunter, J., et al. (1992). Unpublished research by the Columbia University HIV center for clinical and behavioral studies.)
- According to a 2005 report, alcohol dependence is greater among LGBTQ people, especially for women. The report emphasizes the need for including sexual orientation as a subgroup when monitoring alcohol abuse in population studies. (Drabble L., Midanik L.T., Trocki K. Reports of alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems among homosexual, bisexual and heterosexual respondents: results from the 2000 National Alcohol Survey. Journal of Study of Alcohol. 2005, Jan;66(1):111-20.)
- A 2004 study found that "mostly heterosexual" adolescents and lesbian and bisexual girls are more likely to smoke than their heterosexual counterparts. (Austin S.B., Ziyadeh N., Fisher L.B., Kahn J.A., Colditz G.A., Frazier A.L. Sexual orientation and tobacco use in a cohort study of US adolescent girls and boys. Archive of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine. 2004 Apr;158(4):317-22.)
- A 2002 study found that LGB students who are victims of violence at school have elevated risk of substance abuse. (Bontempo D.E., D'Augelli A.R. Effects of at-school victimization and sexual orientation on lesbian, gay, or bisexual youths' health risk behavior. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2002 May;30(5):364-74.)
- 33.2% of transgender youth have attempted suicide. Clements-Nolle K., Marx R., Katz M. (2006). Attempted suicide among transgender persons: The influence of gender-based discrimination and victimization. Journal of Homosexuality, 51(3): 53-69.)
- 55% of transgender youth report being physically attacked. (GLSEN. (2003). The 2003 national school climate survey: the school related experiences of our nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.)
- 74% of transgender youth reported being sexually harassed at school, and 90% of transgender youth reported feeling unsafe at school because of their gender expression. (GLSEN. (2001). The 2001 national school climate survey: the school related experiences of our nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.)
- In a survey of 403 transgender people, 78% reported having been verbally harassed and 48% reported having been victims of assault, including assault with a weapon, sexual assault or rape. (Wilchins, R., Lombardi, E., Priesing, D. and Malouf, D. (1997) First national survey of transgender violence. Gender Public Advocacy Coalition.)
- In 2002, a study was published that found that bisexual students in Massachusetts and Vermont were three to six times more likely to use cocaine than their straight classmates. (Robin, L., Brener, N., Donahue, S., Hack, T., Hale, K., Goodenow, C. Associations between health risk behaviors and opposite-, same-, and both-sex sexual partners in representative samples of Vermont and Massachusetts high school students. Archive of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine. Apr;156(4): pp.349-55.)