8 Facts About LGBTQ Youth
One of San Diego’s most vulnerable populations, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth, often suffer because of non-supportive or even hostile environments in their homes, schools and communities.
Research demonstrates that LGBTQ youth who do not have access to LGBTQ-affirming community environments are at higher risk for negative outcomes, including high school dropout, homelessness, negative health symptoms, increased drug and alcohol use and suicide.
LGBTQ youth are disproportionally represented among homeless youth. While 5 to 10 percent of the general youth population identify as being LGBTQ, they make up 20 to 40 percent of the homeless youth population.
LGBTQ youth leave home more frequently and are exposed to more victimization while on the streets compared to heterosexual homeless youth.
Between 25 a0 percent of LGBTQ homeless youth report leaving home because of conflicts with family members around their sexual orientation or gender expression. Often, LGBTQ youth are forced to leave.
A recent study found that family reactions to LGBTQ youth are not uniformly negative, rather they range from highly rejecting to highly accepting. Families who are initially rejecting tend to become less rejecting over time, especially with access to accurate information about supporting the youth.
LGBT youth who reported high levels of family rejections were:
– 8.4 times more likely to report suicide attempts
– 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression
– 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs
Addressing LGBTQ-related stigma, discrimination and violence, building on the strengths of LGBTQ youth and fostering support such as safe, affirming environments will help improve outcomes for youth.