LGBTQ teens are stressed and depressed but still proud of who they are
A new study has found that the most teenagers who identify as LGBTQ experience depression and high levels of stress – but are still proud to be LGBTQ.
Research conducted by the University of Connecticut in conjunction with the Human Rights Campaign conducted one of the largest surveys of its kind, the groups questioned over 12,000 LGBTQ 13 to 17-year-olds.
In the study, the groups asked a variety of questions including ones on mental and physical health and whether they felt accepted at home or school.
These respondents involved youths from all 50 states as well as Washington DC and directly tied anti-LGBTQ discrimination and rhetoric to the teenager’s mental health and stress.
The study found that over 77 percent of LGBTQ teenagers were depressed or felt down within the previous week, with 70 percent reporting they felt either worthless or hopeless within the same time period.
According to the research, the health of LGBTQ teenagers is also at risk as 95 percent of LGBTQ teenagers regularly have difficulty sleeping.
These findings echo previous studies on adult LGBT people, with a 2017 study discovering that gay men were less able to fall asleep and lesbians were more likely to wake up during the night.
The research also had some frightening results in terms of LGBT students at school.
Only five percent of the students questioned by the HRC and University of Connecticut said that all of their teachers and school staff were supportive of LGBT people, and only 26 percent reported feeling safe in class.
The joint research also discovered that over half of trans and gender non-conforming students were unable to use the school bathrooms that matched their gender identity.
However, the research showed that despite the difficulties teenagers face for being LGBTQ, the vast majority were still proud to be who they are.
91 percent of the teens in the study reported feeling pride in their LGBTQ identity, with 93 percent also glad to be part of the LGBT community.
In response to these statistics, HRC President Chad Griffin hit out at the Trump administration for its record on LGBTQ rights.
“These harrowing statistics show the devastating toll rejection by family and peers, bullying and harassment, and apathy on the part of too many adults is having on America’s young people.
“When this administration rescinds guidance protecting transgender students, or when lawmakers attempt to grant a license to discriminate to schools, colleges, and universities, it further erodes the fragile landscape for young people across the nation.”
He added: “Now more than ever, it is crucial for each of us to do all we can to protect LGBTQ youth and ensure they feel valued, equal, and loved.”
The research also stressed the importance of LGBTQ community groups, highlighting that 60 percent of students had access to student clubs which supported them despite hostile home environments.