The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has released a 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report. The report is based on a survey of more than 12,000 young people aged 13 through 17. The survey was conducted in 2017 by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and researchers at the University of Connecticut.
The report states, “Parents and families play an essential role in promoting adolescent health and well-being. Studies have shown the positive health outcomes for LGBTQ youth whose families are supportive and accepting, including greater self-esteem and resilience, and a lower risk of negative health outcomes such as depression, distress, hopelessness and substance use.”
Some of the key findings:
• The mental health disparities between LGBTQ youth and non-LGBTQ youth continue to be an alarming trend. Today’s LGBTQ youth face a variety of stressors — harassment, family and peer rejection, bullying from their peers, isolation and a lack of a sense of belonging — that have a major impact on their overall well-being. Studies have shown that, compared to their non-LGBTQ peers, LGBTQ youth report much higher rates of depression, anxiety, alcohol and drug use, and lower self-esteem.
• 67% of LGBTQ youth hear their families make negative comments about LGBTQ people
• 25% of LGBTQ youth have families who show support for them by getting involved in the larger LGBTQ and ally community
• 24% of LGBTQ youth can “definitely” be themselves as an LGBTQ person at home
• 78% of youth not out to their parents as LGBTQ hear their families make negative comments about LGBTQ people
The report concludes with a series of recommendations for parents and family members, School administrators and teachers, mental health and medical professionals, and Policy makers and advocacy leaders.
In that last category the report recommends: Enact LGBTQ non-discrimination laws at the national, state and local level; Advocate for LGBTQ-inclusive anti-bullying laws and policies in schools; Support prohibitions on outdated and harmful practices such as conversion therapy; Promote protections in areas where LGBTQ youth are overrepresented, including youth homelessness services, foster care and the juvenile justice system.