A new report released Thursday by the HRC shows tremendous disparities between straight teenagers and LGBT-identified youth.
HRC’s report, “Growing Up LGBT in America,” is a groundbreaking survey of more than 10,000 LGBT-identified youth ages 13-17, and provides a stark picture of the difficulties they face — the impact on their well-being is profound, however these youth are quite resilient, according to the report.
The report 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.
“Growing up in small-town Arkansas, I remember what it’s like to not know a single other gay person,” said incoming HRC president Chad Griffin.
“Now I think about the LGBT youth that lie awake and stare at the ceiling for hours, dreading the next day at school or worrying that their parents will reject them.
“It doesn’t have to be this way.”
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.
A full copy of the report is here.