HRC 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report

The survey results from HRC’s most recent survey on LGBTQ youth, including some disturbing information about the real need trans youth have for support. Below are a few brief excerpts.

“Parents and families play an essential role in promoting adolescent health and well-being. Studies have shown the positive health outcomes for LGBTQ youth whose families are supportive and accepting, including greater self-esteem and resilience, and a lower risk of negative health outcomes such as depression, distress, hopelessness and substance use.”

“Most LGBTQ youth are aware of their sexual orientation or gender identity by the start of adolescence. While “coming out” to their parents and close family members is an important and self- affirming developmental milestone, it is often fraught with worry. Many LGBTQ youth report coming out, being outed or being found out by their family as extremely stressful. Moreover, more than three- quarters of youth in our sample rate coming out as LGBTQ to their parents as extremely stressful…”

“…The mental health disparities between LGBTQ youth and non-LGBTQ youth continue to be an alarming trend. Today’s LGBTQ youth face a variety of stressors — harassment, family and peer rejection, bullying from their peers, isolation and a lack of a sense of belonging — that have a major impact on their overall well-being. Studies have shown that, compared to their non-LGBTQ peers, LGBTQ youth report much higher rates of depression, anxiety, alcohol and drug use, and lower self-esteem…”

“…Seventy-seven percent of LGBTQ youth surveyed report that on average they had felt down or depressed in the past week.17 Alarmingly, only 41 percent had received psychological or emotional counseling to address these issues in the past 12 months. LGBTQ youth of color face even greater challenges in accessing counseling services, with large disparities and an average of 37 percent of respondents having received psychological or emotional counseling in the past 12 months. Importantly, youth who had received counseling reported better mental health outcomes.”

“…LGBTQ youth of color often experience additional stress and adverse effects to their health and well- being as a result of bias around their intersecting identities. In addition to homophobia or transphobia, LGBTQ youth of color may encounter racism and discrimination on a daily basis and in various forms that can further complicate their ability to express, explore and/or manage their LGBTQ identities.”

“…Transgender and gender-expansive youth face many serious challenges in the school system. In addition to more overt forms of discrimination such as verbal and physical harassment, they also commonly report being barred from using locker rooms or bathroom facilities that match their gender identity and not being addressed by the appropriate pronouns or their chosen names. These negative school experiences have damaging implications for transgender and gender-expansive youth, and further contribute to hostile learning environments where they feel unsafe and unprotected.”