Youth

When you’re young and LGBTQ+, coming out is only half the battle. Learn more about the issues affecting LGBTQ+ youths and what can be done to change their reality.

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Hi! I’m here to help you learn more about what it means to be young and LGBTQ+. If growing up is hard, growing up LGBTQ+ can be harder. LGBTQ+ youths are trying to find their place in the world, as they grapple with unique challenges, dangers and systemic problems. There’s a lot to unpack, so let’s get started.

Coming home

What would happen if you couldn’t come home? Or if being at home didn't feel safe? Explore some of the staggering statistics and harsh realities of being young and LGBTQ+.

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On the street

Homelessness among LGBTQ+ youths isn't just an issue; it's a full-blown epidemic.

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A good man

The day Bryan Wilmoth’s father discovered he was gay was the last day Bryan spent in his family home.

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Home But Not Safe

Imagine what it's like not to feel safe in your own home. That's the experience of many LGBTQ+ young adults who are living with their family during the pandemic.

Under attack

Being different has always made people vulnerable to rejection, abuse and even violence--whether that be a difference of race, religious beliefs or political views. The same goes for differences in sexual and gender identities. Explore the impact of rejection, bullying and outright attacks on LGBTQ+ youth.

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“I had to do whatever it took to not be gay”

When a love letter from a boy came addressed to Nathan Hoskins, his mother drove him out to the country, a shotgun in her hands.

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Unintended consequences

Conversion therapy touts itself as a way to turn gay kids straight. But the effects can be far more damaging.

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Bullied for being gay

The children at 13-year-old Tyrone Unsworth's school told him relentlessly to take his own life. So one day, Tyrone did.

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Safety, in numbers

Cyber bullying gets a lot of attention these days. But among LGBTQ+ youths, physical violence is still a very real threat.

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Lasting Impact

For LGBTQ+ youths, the effects of bullying at a young age can last well into adulthood.

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Beyond the schoolyard

Angie Zapata, a transgender woman, was just 18 years old when she met the man who would end her life.

Getting accepted

Explore the impact of support over rejection among LGBTQ+ youth.

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Family support matters

Why are many LGBTQ+ young people flourishing even as others face significant challenges? Studies show the #1 factor is family support vs. rejection.

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Home court advantage

When young people come out as gay, bisexual or transgender, having the support of their families makes all the difference.

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A new place to call home

When Dylan Lewis's mother kicked him out for being gay, he found a new home — in the Deep South.

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Happy and Queer

Listen to Kaysen Ford and their mother reflect on Kaysen's recent high school graduation and share hopes and dreams for the future.

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“My dad is the greatest ever”

There are positive stories of coming out to family and friends — like this one from Morgan Marsh, who has "the greatest dad ever."

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A journey toward acceptance

"I wanted you to meet a good husband, have a child and live well," says Elena's Korean-born grandmother. But things don't always work out as expected.

A way forward

The studies and stories highlighting the issues impacting LGBTQ+ youth are also showing us solutions--a way forward. Learn more about the work being done to change the status quo and turn the tide for LGBTQ+ youth.

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Making a difference

Schools haven't always been supportive of LGBTQ+ students. But some educators are finding ways to change that.

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Getting schooled

Schools can be intimidating places for LGBTQ+ youths. But research shows the solution is simple — and it starts with this toolbox.

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A network of support

LGBTQ+ youths have a lot of very specific needs, and yet, of the programs in place to help this population, few are designed to actually fill those needs. Learn how that's starting to change.

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Questioning Teens

Adolescence is a time of exploration and learning about oneself, and that can include sexual orientation.

The Stats

Learn about the demographics of LGBTQ+ youth in the US

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Discrimination takes its toll

A new study reports alarming rates of suicide risk among young people who identify as Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) and LGBTQ+. Find out what these youth are facing.

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Citations & Sources

American Psychological Association. (2009). Toolbox to promote healthy LGBTQ youth. http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/programs/safe-supportive/training/toolbox.aspx

Boy Scouts of America (2017, January 30). BSA addresses gender identity [Press release]. https://www.scoutingnewsroom.org/press-releases/bsa-addresses-gender-identity/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016, June 10). Youth risk behavior surveillance-United States, 2015. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Surveillance Summaries, 65(6). https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/pdf/2015/ss6506_updated.pdf

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). LGBT Youth. https://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth/youth.htm

Marsh, M. (2009, March 30). Coming out pansexual to my dad [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1ZiZal2DXQ

Durso, L. E., & Gates, G. J. (2012, July). Serving our youth: Findings from a national survey of service providers working with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law. https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/publications/serving-our-youth-lgbtq/

Frosch, D. (2008, August 2). Death of a transgender woman is called a hate crime. New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/02/us/02murder.html

Gates, G. J. (2017, January 11). In U.S., more adults identifying as LGBT. Gallup. http://news.gallup.com/poll/201731/lgbt-identification-rises.aspx

Herman, J., Flores, A., Brown, T., et al. (2017, January). Age of individuals who identify as transgender in the United States. Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law. https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/publications/age-trans-individuals-us/

Higgins, M. (2016, October 18). LBGT students are not safe at school. Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/10/school-is-still-not-safe-for-lgbt-students/504368/

Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health Issues and Research Gaps and Opportunities. (2011). The health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people: Building a foundation for better understanding. National Academies Press, 4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64808/

Kann, L., Olsen, E.O., McManus, T., et al. (2016, August). Sexual identity, sex of sexual contacts, and health-related behaviors among students in grades 9–12 — United States and selected sites, 2015. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Surveillance Summaries, 65(SS-9), 1-202. http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.ss6509a1

Kates, J., Ranji, U., Beamesderfer, A., Salganicoff, A., & Dawson, L. (2018, May 3). Health and access to care and coverage for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals in the U.S. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. https://www.kff.org/disparities-policy/issue-brief/health-and-access-to-care-and-coverage-for-lesbia...

Keuroghlian, A.S., Shtasel, D., & Bassuk, E. L. (2014). Out on the street: A public health and policy agenda for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth who are homeless. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 84(1), 66-72. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4098056/

Left behind: LGBT homeless youth struggle to survive on the streets. (2014, August 2). NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/left-behind-lgbt-homeless-youth-struggle-survive-streets-n157506

Lewis, D. (2017, May 23). My family didn’t accept me. Ole Miss did. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/23/opinion/ole-miss-lgbt-students.html

Mallory, C., Brown T. N. T., & Conron, K. (2018, January). Conversion therapy and LGBT youth. Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law. https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/publications/conversion-therapy-and-lgbt-youth/

Muraco, J. A. & Russell, S.T. (2011). How school bullying impacts lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) young adults. Frances McClelland Institute for Children, Youth, and Families ResearchLink, 4(1), 1-4. https://mcclellandinstitute.arizona.edu/sites/mcclellandinstitute.arizona.edu/files/ResearchLink_Vol.%204%20No.%201_Bullying.pdf

Musumeci, N. (2016, December 6). Bullied gay teen who committed suicide said peers wanted him dead. New York Post. https://nypost.com/2016/12/06/friend-says-teen-who-committed-suicide-was-bullied-for-being-gay/

Neal, D. (2017, April 13). 'Do you want a happy little girl or a dead little boy?': My choice as a mother. Vice: Broadly. https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/8x4qdk/do-you-want-a-happy-little-girl-or-a-dead-little-boy-my-choice-as-a-mother

Nolan, T. (2012, May 17). Family acceptance: Groundbreaking ‘best practice’ for reducing suicide risk for LGBT youth. HuffPost. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/theresa-nolan/family-acceptance-lgbt-youth-suicide-risk_b_1518197.html

Park, A. (2010, December 6). The protective effect of family acceptance for gay teens. Time. http://healthland.time.com/2010/12/06/the-protective-effect-of-family-acceptance-for-gay-teens

Russell, S., & Fish, J. (2016, March). Mental health in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 12, 465-487. https://www.annualreviews.org/abs/doi/10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-021815-093153

Seaton, J. (2017, March 29). Homeless rates for LGBT teens are alarming, but parents can make a difference. Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2017/03/29/homeless-rates-for-lgbt-teens-are-alarming-heres-how-parents-can-change-that/?utm_term=.dd23636b070f

Sopelsa, B. (2020, March). Virginia becomes 20th state to ban conversion therapy for minors. NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/virginia-becomes-20th-state-ban-conversion-therapy-minors-n1...

StoryCorps. (2012, January 13). Nathan Hoskins and Sally Evans [Audio podcast]. https://storycorps.org/listen/nathan-hoskins-and-sally-evans/

StoryCorps. (2014, June 18). A good man [Video]. https://storycorps.org/animation/a-good-man/

Victor, D. (2016, December 30). Cub Scouts kick out transgender boy in New Jersey. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/30/us/cub-scouts-transgender.html

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