Coming Out Improves LGBT Youth Happiness, Family Ties

Posted on  

"Coming Out Improves LGBT Youth Happiness, Family Ties"

On this Wednesday, National Coming Out Day, the Human Rights Campaign released the results of a survey of 10,000 LGBT youth aged 13-17. The study found that while almost all (91 percent) of LGBT teens are out to their close friends, fewer are out in school (61 percent) and to their families (56 percent). Respondents who were out at school and to their families reported higher levels of happiness than those who didn’t:

Those who are out to immediate family are more likely to report being happy (very/pretty happy) than those who are not out—41% of those out to immediate family report being happy; 33% of those not out to immediate family report being happy. Those who are out at school are more likely to report being happy (very/pretty happy) than those who are not—40% of those out at school report being happy; 33% of those not out at school report being happy.

Those who are not out to immediate family are more likely to report being unhappy (pretty/very unhappy) than those who are out—21% of those who are not out to immediate family report being unhappy; 16% of those who are out to immediate family report being unhappy. Those who are not out at school are more likely to report being unhappy (pretty/very unhappy) than those who are out —21% of those who are not out at school report being unhappy; 16% of those who are out at school report being unhappy.

The family happiness numbers appear to be related to the fact that being out to close family members helps LGBT youth feel comfortable with their home lives. The survey found that “youth who are out to their immediate family are twice as likely as youth who are not out to say they have an adult in their family they could talk to if they were sad.”

Though coming out at school is on balance good for LGBT youth’s psychological well-being, according to the report, it’s not without risks. Sixty percent “of youth who are out at school have experienced [verbal] harassment; 46% of youth who are not out at school have experienced such harassment.” This finding explains why 40 percent of teens reported staying in the closet because they were afraid of “being treated differently or judged” or bullying.

Anti-gay groups have pushed bullying and eduction guidelines that promote a climate of hostility and ignorance among students towards their LGBT peers. Another HRC study examining the same data as the above study found strong evidence that bullying and discrimination explained their relatively high levels of unhappiness.

« »

By clicking and submitting a comment I acknowledge the ThinkProgress Privacy Policy and agree to the ThinkProgress Terms of Use. I understand that my comments are also being governed by Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, or Hotmail’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policies as applicable, which can be found here.