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Report Highlights Challenges Faced by Latino LGBT Youth Despite Gains in Movement for LGBT Equality

Groundbreaking survey shows Latino LGBT youth feel profoundly disconnected from their families and communities, details steps adults can take to make life better for LGBT youth

WASHINGTON – Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth who identify as Latino face greater rejection from their communities and schools than their non-LGBT Latino counterparts, according to a new report on LGBT Latino youth released today by the Human Rights Campaign – the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization in partnership with The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).  The report further analyzes the results of a groundbreaking survey of over 10,000 LGBT-identified young people titled “Growing Up LGBT in America,” and explores the experiences of nearly 2,000 LGBT youth who identified as Latino.

According to the survey, no matter how great the strides toward LGBT equality – from state-approved marriage to employee benefits to school anti-bullying programs – LGBT youth who do not feel loved and supported by their family will face greater challenges both now and in the future. 

“The well-being of Latino LGBT youth is fostered by the support of family and trusted adults in their lives,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.  “We must do better in supporting LGBT youth who still fear rejection, being judged and ostracized in school and being rejected from their religious congregations and the broader community.”

“The deck is stacked against young people growing up lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender,” stated LULAC Executive Director Brent Wilkes. “LULAC is rooted in civic participation and protecting residents from discrimination or indifference along with social ostracism. While we’ve advanced significantly in the last 84 years of LULAC’s existence, unfortunately, far too many LGBT youth and adults are still disaffected and disconnected in their own homes and neighborhoods.”

“As a nation, we are making great strides towards greater equality for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender,” said Los Angeles Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti. “However, gaining acceptance and understanding is still very difficult for LGBT youth and especially for young LGBT Latinos. This report highlights the need to do more to help Latino families stay strong and supportive of their children’s needs.”

Among the report’s key findings:

  • LGBT Latino youth are nearly as optimistic as their non-LGBT Latino peers about future life achievements. However, they feel much less hopeful than those peers about meeting those goals if they remain in their current communities. 
  • The most difficult problems facing LGBT Latino youth are related to negative responses to their LGBT identity. Concern about family acceptance is the top problem identified, and having their families accept and support them is a key change they wish for in their lives.
  • Slightly more than half of LGBT Latino youth are out to their immediate family, and nearly 6 in 10 say their family is accepting of LGBT people. Still, about one-third report a lack of family acceptance.
  • Slightly less than half of LGBT Latino youth have an adult in their family they can turn to if worried or sad, while 8 in 10 of their non-LGBT Latino peers do have such an adult.
  • Like other LGBT youth, 9 in 10 LGBT Latino youth are out to their close friends. However, Latino LGBT youth are more likely than others to be out to their classmates, at school, and to their teachers.
  • Nearly three-quarters of LGBT Latino youth say their school is accepting of LGBT people, and more than 8 in 10 say their peers are accepting.
  • LGBT Latino youth are more likely to face harassment and violence in the community than their non-LGBT Latino peers, and much less likely to participate in a variety of community activities.
  • LGBT Latino youth are twice as likely as non-LGBT Latino youth to say they do not “fit in” in the communities where they live.
  • Two-thirds of LGBT Latino youth say they are more honest about who they are online, while about one-third of non-LGBT Latino youth say the same.

This report, the third in a series of efforts to analyze the landscape for LGBT youth, includes a call to action for adults to become an ally to LGBT youth.  The report details how to become a strong ally, including taking steps to: educate yourself, find someone to talk to, keep the conversation alive with LGBT youth, and take broad action. 

HRC’s Latino youth report is available at www.hrc.org/latinoyouth.  A copy the full youth report is available at: www.hrc.org/youth.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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