GSA Network Blog

Growing Up LGBT In America

Youth reading this are probably all too familiar with the findings in today's report from the Human Rights Campaign on issues faced by LGBT youth. But that doesn't mean you should ignore it -- research like this can be a valuable tool for creating change.

For example, the next time someone tries to tell you that bullying is a "rite of passage" that affects all young people the same way, or that queer youth don't face unique challenges? Whip out this report.

Asked to describe the most important problem in their lives, LGBT youth gave dramatically different answers from non-LGBT youth. The majority of non-LGBT youth picked classes/grades/exams, college/career, and financial pressures as the greatest problems they're dealing with.

Clearly, grades, finances, and careers are also issues that affect many LGBT youth, but they ranked nowhere near the "most important problem" for the LGBT youth surveyed. Instead, LGBT youths' main concerns are non-accepting families, school/bullying problems, and fear of being out or open.

In other words, not your typical "rite of passage."

Chris Geidner reports in MetroWeekly: "Specifically, the survey finds that 47 percent of LGBT youth say they do not 'fit in' in their community. In comparison, only 16 percent of non-LGBT youth say the same."

Our research -- and our experience -- has shown that Gay-Straight Alliance clubs are key to making schools and communities safer for and more inclusive of all students. LGBTQ-inclusive lessons are also important to shifting school climate, as a report we released earlier this week shows.

We have solutions, and this valuable research from HRC demonstrates the problem in a way schools, officials, parents, and the public can't ignore.

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