WASHINGTON — LGBT teens today in the U.S. report stress, anxiety and rejection as well as lack of safety in school classrooms according to findings of a survey released this week.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation and the University of Connecticut last year surveyed about 12,000 LGBT teens from all 50 states and Washington asking how they fared at home, school and in their communities. Respondents in the 2017 online survey, 13-17, report:
• 77 percent report feeling depressed or down over the past week;
• 95 percent report trouble sleeping;
• LGBT youth of color and transgender teenagers experience additional challenges and elevated stress — only 11 percent of youth of color surveyed believe their racial or ethnic group is regarded positively in the U.S., and about 50 percent of trans and non-binary youth said they can never use school restrooms that align with their gender identity;
• More than 70 percent report feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness in the past week;
• Only 26 percent say they always feel safe in their school classrooms and just five percent say all of their teachers and school staff are supportive of LGBT people
• 67 percent report that they’ve heard family members make negative comments about LGBT people
HRC blames the Trump administration.
“The results highlight the challenges facing LGBT youth, particularly transgender young people and people of color, who have experienced ongoing efforts by the Trump-Pence administration to undermine their rights, from rescinding lifesaving guidance promoting equitable treatment of transgender students and refusing to investigate complaints filed by transgender students who face discrimination in school facilities, to racist immigration policies and giving shameful passes to hate groups and white supremacists,” HRC officials said in a press release.
HRC President Chad Griffin added more.
“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,” Griffin said.
It wasn’t all dire, though. Among other findings:
• 91 percent of youth report feeling pride in being an LGBT person and 93 percent are proud to be part of the community.
• Three out of five LGBT students have access to a gay student club, which has been shown to have a positive impact on the perceptions LGBT youth have of their school experiences and can provide support to those who may face hostile environments at home or in their communities.
HRC says more data of this nature is needed. It has several youth initiatives, such as Time to THRIVE, to address needs. The full results of the survey can be found at assets2.hrc.org.