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Study: Vast majority of LGBTQ teens feel unsafe at school, hear negative comments from family

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new survey of LGBTQ teens released last week shows that the vast majority of young people report feeling unsafe at school and regularly hear family members make negative comments about LGBTQ people.

The survey of 12,000 teens aged 13-17 was released by the Human Rights Campaign and the University of Connecticut on May 15. Researchers said it was the largest-of-its-kind survey of LGBTQ teens. Youth from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., participated.

Key findings from the survey include stunning insights into the daily struggles of today’s LGBTQ teenagers. Seventy-seven percent said they felt depressed over the past week and 95 percent reported trouble sleeping at night. More than 70 percent said they experienced feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness.

Those feelings become more clear in light of teens’ experiences at school and in their families. Only 26 percent said they always feel safe at school and only five percent said their teachers and school staff are supportive of LGBTQ people.

A stunning 77 percent said they’ve heard family members make derogatory remarks about LGBTQ people.

“These harrowing statistics show the devastating toll rejection by family and peers, bullying and harassment, and apathy on the part of too many adults is having on America’s young people,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a press release. “When this administration rescinds guidance protecting transgender students, or when lawmakers attempt to grant a license to discriminate to schools, colleges, and universities, it further erodes the fragile landscape for young people across the nation. Now more than ever, it is crucial for each of us to do all we can to protect LGBTQ youth and ensure they feel valued, equal, and loved.”

The new stats complement other studies documenting the experiences of LGBTQ young people. Unsupportive experiences in schools and family often contribute to a variety of negative consequences for LGBTQ youth.

In Charlotte, a Time Out Youth Center report in 2016 found high levels of homelessness, survival sex work, mental health challenges and substance abuse issues for LGBTQ young people.

Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer is a staff writer for QNotes. He previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015.

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