Growing Up LGBT in America

The title of this post is the title of a new study of 10,000 youth ages 13-17 issued by the Human Rights Campaign.  The study is the largest known survey of LGBT youth. A major finding was that LGBT youth are twice as likely as their peers to report that they have been physically assaulted, kicked, or shoved at school. More than one-half of LGBT youth (54 percent) say they have been verbally harassed and called names involving anti-gay slurs.  The full text of the report may be accessed here.

This is from HRC’s Backstory Blog:

A new report HRC released today is showing tremendous disparities between straight teenagers and LGBT-identified youth. The report, available at, marks the beginning of new president Chad Griffin’s tenure at HRC, and illustrates how critical the work of achieving full equality is for future generations. Among the report’s key findings:

  • Over one-half of LGBT youth (54 percent) say they have been verbally harassed and called names involving anti-gay slurs;
  • Nearly half of LGBT youth (47 percent) say they do not “fit in” in their community while only 16 percent of non-LGBT youth feel that way;
  • 67 percent of straight youth describe themselves as happy but this number drops to 37 percent among LGBT young people;
  • 83 percent of LGBT youth believe they will be happy eventually, but only 49 percent believe they can be happy if they stay in the same city or town;
  • 6 in 10 LGBT youth say their family is accepting of LGBT people, while a third say their family is not;
  • 92 percent say they hear negative messages about being LGBT – 60 percent say those messages come from elected leaders.
  • When asked to describe their most important problem, straight teens articulated the usual challenges of grades and college and finances.  On the other hand LGBT teens’ worries were directly related to their identity as LGBT including non-accepting families and bullying.

The report is the first in a series of efforts to analyze the landscape for LGBT youth. Over the next several months, HRC will be engaging in additional analysis that will provide a better understanding of the unique experiences of specific groups of youth, for example transgender youth, those of different races, religious traditions, etc.

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About Tamar Birckhead

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2 Responses to Growing Up LGBT in America

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