Only 26% of LGBT teens say they always feel safe in their school classrooms, and only 5% say all of their teachers and school staff are supportive of LGBT people, according to a new study from the Human Rights Campaign and the University of Connecticut.
The organization and the university surveyed more than 12,000 LGBT teenagers across the nation for the 2018 Youth Report, the largest study of its kind. The results reveal the unrelenting challenges many LGBT teens face in their daily lives—at home, at school, and in their communities—and the impact of the Trump-Pence administration’s efforts to undermine their 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,” said HRC President Chad Griffin in a statement. “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. 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.”
According to the study, 77% of LGBT teens surveyed report feeling depressed or down over the past week, 70% said they felt feelings of worthlessness, and 50% of trans teens said they can never use school restrooms that align with their gender identity. The study also found LGBT youth of color often experience additional stress and adverse effects to their health and well-being as a result of bias around their intersecting identities. Twenty-five percent of LGBT teens of color report thinking about racism every day.
“Our strong research partnership with HRC reflects a shared sense of urgency to address the significant health and well-being disparities facing LGBTQ teens,” University of Connecticut Assistant Professor Dr. Ryan Watson said in a statement. “We hope our research findings will help inform policy and practice to improve the lives of these young people. This collaboration has potential to shape prevention, intervention, and treatment related to school and family experiences.”
The research also uncovers some optimistic points highlighting the resilience of LGBT teens. Ninety-one percent of youth surveyed report feeling pride in being a LGBT person, and 93% are proud to be a part of the community.