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.

Gender identity icon
Gender expression icon
attraction icon
Biological sex icon

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? Explore the staggering statistics and harsh realities of being young, homeless and LGBTQ+.

Thumbnail for On the street

On the street

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

Thumbnail for A good man

A good man

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

Mind the gap

Digging into the issue of mental health has revealed disturbing trends among LGBTQ+ youths. And biology isn't to blame. Learn more about the complex factors behind the mental health challenges faced by many LGBTQ+ youth.

Thumbnail for It's complicated

It's complicated

Being LGBTQ+ is more accepted now than ever before. So why do mental health issues continue to run high for LGBTQ+ youth?

Thumbnail for “I watched her die inside”

“I watched her die inside”

When DeShanna Neal’s son began to dress and act like a girl, she saw the impact of societal shunning firsthand: “I watched her die inside.”

Thumbnail for Bullied for being gay

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.

Thumbnail for Unintended consequences

Unintended consequences

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

Under attack

Being different has always made people vulnerable to 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 violence facing LGBTQ+ youth and what factors could change the statistics.

Thumbnail for Safety, in numbers

Safety, in numbers

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

Thumbnail for Making a difference

Making a difference

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

Thumbnail for Lasting Impact

Lasting Impact

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

Thumbnail for Beyond the schoolyard

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.

Thumbnail for A new place to call home

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.

Thumbnail for “My dad is the greatest ever”

“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."

Thumbnail for Letting go

Letting go

When their daughter came out as transgender, the Pizer family had to navigate the difficult journey toward acceptance.

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

“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.

Thumbnail for 'I'm way more angry than sad.'

'I'm way more angry than sad.'

8-year-old Joe Maldonado was kicked out of the Boy Scouts for being transgender. Find out what happened next.

Thumbnail for Home But Not Safe

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.

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.

Thumbnail for Home court advantage

Home court advantage

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

Thumbnail for Getting schooled

Getting schooled

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

Thumbnail for A network of support

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.

The Stats

Learn about the demographics of LGBTQ+ youth in the US

Thumbnail for Current estimates of lgb teen population in the US

Current estimates of lgb teen population in the US

It was just a few years ago that the CDC released the first nationally representative study of the health risks of LGB youths. Here's what the researchers found.

Thumbnail for Current estimates of US teens who are transgender

Current estimates of US teens who are transgender

The research on transgender youths has only just begun. Here's how the numbers break down across the U.S.

Thumbnail for Unsafe at school

Unsafe at school

LGBTQ+ youths routinely face greater risks at school than their straight counterparts. Learn what the CDC found in a national survey on youth risk behavior.

Thumbnail for At risk for suicide

At risk for suicide

Surveys have unlocked a dangerous trend: lesbian, gay and bisexual teenagers are at significantly higher risk for suicide than their non-LGB peers.

Explore More Topics

Citations & Sources

American Psychological Association. (2009). Toolbox to promote healthy LGBTQ youth.

Boy Scouts of America (2017, January 30). BSA addresses gender identity [Press release].

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).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). LGBT Youth.

Marsh, M. (2009, March 30). Coming out pansexual to my dad [Video]. YouTube.

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.

Frosch, D. (2008, August 2). Death of a transgender woman is called a hate crime. New York Times.

Gates, G. J. (2017, January 11). In U.S., more adults identifying as LGBT. Gallup.

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.

Higgins, M. (2016, October 18). LBGT students are not safe at school. Atlantic.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Left behind: LGBT homeless youth struggle to survive on the streets. (2014, August 2). NBC News.

Lewis, D. (2017, May 23). My family didn’t accept me. Ole Miss did. New York Times.

Mallory, C., Brown T. N. T., & Conron, K. (2018, January). Conversion therapy and LGBT youth. Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law.

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.

Musumeci, N. (2016, December 6). Bullied gay teen who committed suicide said peers wanted him dead. New York Post.

Neal, D. (2017, April 13). 'Do you want a happy little girl or a dead little boy?': My choice as a mother. Vice: Broadly.

Nolan, T. (2012, May 17). Family acceptance: Groundbreaking ‘best practice’ for reducing suicide risk for LGBT youth. HuffPost.

Park, A. (2010, December 6). The protective effect of family acceptance for gay teens. Time.

Russell, S., & Fish, J. (2016, March). Mental health in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 12, 465-487.

Seaton, J. (2017, March 29). Homeless rates for LGBT teens are alarming, but parents can make a difference. Washington Post.

Sopelsa, B. (2020, March). Virginia becomes 20th state to ban conversion therapy for minors. NBC News.

StoryCorps. (2012, January 13). Nathan Hoskins and Sally Evans [Audio podcast].

StoryCorps. (2014, June 18). A good man [Video].

Victor, D. (2016, December 30). Cub Scouts kick out transgender boy in New Jersey. New York Times.

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to gather insights and real learnings

* indicates required
Privacy Policy *