Today, the Human Rights Campaign released a new study analyzing the experiences of LGBT youth and found compelling evidence that the stigma and bullying they experience interrupts their ability to focus on their education and careers. Here are some of the compelling findings:
- LGBT youth describe the “most important problem” in their lives as “non-accepting families” (26 percent), “school/bullying problems” (21 percent), and “fear of being out or open (18 percent), while non-LGBT youth were more concerned with “classes/exams/grades” (25 percent), “college/career” (14 percent), and “financial pressures related to college or job” (11 percent).
- Non-LGBT youth were almost twice as likely to be happy (67 percent) than LGBT youth (37 percent).
- Almost a third (29 percent) of LGBT youth feel they don’t have an adult they can talk to about personal problems, compared to just 17 percent of non-LGBT youth.
- LGBT youth are more than twice as likely to experiment with alcohol and drugs (52 percent) than non-LGBT youth (22 percent).
- LGBT youth are more than twice as like to have been verbally harassed at school (51 percent) than non-LGBT students (25 percent).
- Nearly half (42 percent) of LGBT youth say their community is not accepting of LGBT people.
- A third of LGBT youth (33 percent) say that their family is not accepting.
- Almost all LGBT youth (92 percent) say that they hear negative messages about being LGBT.
Combined with the data from GLSEN’s 2009 school climate survey, it’s clear to see that bullying and homophobia are still rampant in schools across the country. These young people are optimistic, but the negative reactions they face for their identities is interfering with their life goals in disconcerting ways.