Health and Wellness

LGBTQ youth face more stress from police brutality & COVID-19

LGBTQ young people
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A new poll commissioned by the Trevor Project shows how drastically recent events have affected LGBTQ youth.

The poll found that young people generally support the Black Lives Matter protests – 68% of the sample affirmed their support. Support was higher among LGBTQ youth at 82%, compared to straight/cisgender youth at 63%.

Related: Kierra Johnson will become the first Black executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force

The polls, conducted by Morning Consult, involved both straight/cisgender and LGBTQ youth between the ages of 13 and 24. About 1,200 people were included, with 175 Black LGBTQ youth and 196 Black straight/cisgender youth in the sample.

A majority of both groups stated that “recent news reports, images, and videos about violence against Black people in the United States” have caused stress or a negative mental state for them. Forty-four percent of the Black LGBTQ youth polled reported they have been negatively impacted “a lot,” compared to 32% of all LGBTQ youth and 23% of straight/cisgender youth.

An overwhelming majority of LGBTQ youth did not express trust in police either: 71% of LGBTQ youth said they had “not too much” trust in the police.  Only 25% of straight/cisgender youth said the same.

Fifty-nine percent of trans and non-binary youth had no trust in police, and 47% of Black LGBTQ youth had the same response.

“Only 8% of Black LGBTQ youth ‘strongly agreed’ that the police were in their neighborhood to protect them,” the Trevor Project said.

This may be because LGBTQ youth are more likely to face mistreatment, harassment, or brutality from police than straight/cisgender youth. Twenty percent of LGBTQ youth reported mistreatment from law enforcement compared to 14% of straight/cisgender youth.

In terms of how young LGBTQ people are holding up amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a majority described having symptoms of anxiety (55%) or depression (53%) since the outbreak began. Trans and non-binary youth described both symptoms of anxiety (66%) and depression (69%) at higher rates.

LGBTQ youth were found to have less access to mental health care than straight/cisgender youth.

More than one in three LGBTQ young people reported a distrust of health information on COVID-19 provided by their family, compared to one in five straight/cisgender youth. Both groups reported more trust in their teachers and medical professionals.

“This year has been difficult for everyone,” Trevor Project CEO Amit Paley stated, “but it has been especially challenging for LGBTQ youth, and particularly Black LGBTQ youth, who have found themselves at the crossroads of multiple mounting tragedies.”

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