New HRC Data Finds Many LGBTQ+ Youth Still Lack Critical Support and Acceptance

by Jarred Keller

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, released a report in partnership with the University of Connecticut featuring data collected in 2022 from nearly 13,000 LGBTQ+ youth (age 13-18) across the country. The report presents extensive data on LGBTQ+ youth experiences in five domains: LGBTQ+ youth at home; Sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) development and milestones; LGBTQ+ youth at school; Mental Health and Well Being; and Hopes, Fears, and Dreams for the Future.

Key findings from the 2023 Youth Report include:

LGBTQ+ Youth at Home

  • More than 6 in 10 (63.1%) LGBTQ+ youth have experienced at least some form of support from their parents.
  • At the same time, over half (57.4%) have experienced at least one form of parental rejection.
  • Transgender and gender-expansive youth who have their pronouns and chosen names affirmed more frequently at home are significantly less likely to screen positive for depression and anxiety.

LGBTQ+ Youth at School

  • Almost half (46.1%) of LGBTQ+ youth, including over half (54.9%) of transgender and gender-expansive youth, feel unsafe in at least one school setting.
  • Bathrooms and locker rooms are where LGBTQ+ youth feel the least safe.

Mental Health and Well-Being

  • Over half (55%) of LGBTQ+ youth, and 60% of transgender and gender-expansive youth, screened positive for depression.
  • Two-thirds each of LGBTQ+ youth (63.5%), and transgender and gender-expansive youth (68.2%), screened positive for anxiety.

Hopes, Fears, and Dreams for the future

  • More than 90% of LGBTQ+ youth, including 92% of transgender and gender-expansive youth, are proud to be part of the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Two-thirds (69.2%) of LGBTQ+ youth) are afraid they will be discriminated against in their future career due to their LGBTQ+ identity.
“This report underscores the complex feelings held by LGBTQ+ youth around the country,” said Shoshana K. Goldberg, Director of Public Education & Research at the Human Rights Campaign. “Virtually all LGBTQ+ youth are out in at least some contexts, including to family, friends, and classmates. The vast majority of LGBTQ+ youth are proud to be LGBTQ+, and want to remain out and proud into their future careers. But at the same time, many LGBTQ+ youth are still lacking the support and affirmation they need, leading them to experience depression and anxiety, and to feel unsafe at school and fearful for their future. We know that emotional well-being improves when youth are accepted at home, and when they feel safe at school and with friends. It is our responsibility to ensure that we lift up these young people and make sure they know they are valued, loved, and that they are not alone.”

Accompanying the report is a series of actionable steps and fact sheets for parents and caregivers, educators and administrators, librarians, and mental health providers to utilize when unsure of how to best support the LGBTQ+ youth in their lives.

To read the full 2023 Youth Survey Report, visit here.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people. Through its programs, the HRC Foundation seeks to make transformational change in the everyday lives of LGBTQ+ people, shedding light on inequity and deepening the public’s understanding of LGBTQ+ issues, with a clear focus on advancing transgender and racial justice. Its work has transformed the landscape for more than 15 million workers, 11 million students, 1 million clients in the adoption and foster care system and so much more. The HRC Foundation provides direct consultation and technical assistance to institutions and communities, driving the advancement of inclusive policies and practices; it builds the capacity of future leaders and allies through fellowship and training programs; and, with the firm belief that we are stronger working together, it forges partnerships with advocates in the U.S. and around the globe to increase our impact and shape the future of our work.

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