In 2016, PTA adopted a resolution in favor of recognizing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) individuals as a protected class, noting that LGBTQ youth are frequent targets of harassment and bullying and have higher rates of isolation, depression, and suicidal thoughts and attempts than the general student population. This month, the Human Rights Campaign and the University of Connecticut released its 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report.
The report is the largest survey of its kind ever, having surveyed over 12,000 LGBTQ teenagers ages 13 to 17 from across the nation. The survey found that these teenagers are experiencing not only high levels of stress, anxiety, and rejection, but also overwhelmingly feel unsafe in their own classrooms. The survey also clearly indicated the important role that supportive families and inclusive schools play in LGBTQ students’ success and well-being. Among the results are:
- 77% of LGBTQ teenagers reported feeling depressed or down over the past week.
- 95% of LGBTQ teenagers reported trouble sleeping at night.
- More than 70% report feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness in the past week.
- Over 50% of transgender youth said that they canneveruse the school restrooms that align with their gender identity.
- Only 11% of LGBTQ teenagers of color said their racial or ethnic group was regarded positively in the US.
- Only 26% of LGBTQ youth said that they always feel safe in their school classrooms, and only 5% say that all of their teachers and school staff are supportive of LGBTQ teenagers.
- 67% report that they have heard family members make negative comments about LGBTQ people.
The full reportincludes a section covering what parents and family members, school administrators and teachers, mental health and medical professionals, and policy makers and advocacy leaders can do to help.