While trying to deal with all the challenges of being a teenager, lesbian/gay / bisexual/
transgender (LGBT) teens also have to deal with harassment, threats and violence directed
at them on a daily basis. LGBT youth are nearly twice as likely to be called names, verbally
harassed or physically assaulted at school compared to their non-LGBT peers. [1] Their
mental health and education, not to mention their physical well-being, are at-risk.
How is their mental health being aected?
• Substance Use: Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth are more than twice as
likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol. [1]
• Happiness: Only 37% of LGBT youth report being happy, while 67% of non-LGBT youth
say they are happy. However, over 80% of LGBT youth believe they will be happy
eventually, with nearly half believing that they will need to move away from their
current town to nd happiness. [1]
• Self-Harm: With each instance of verbal or physical harassment, the risk of self-harm
among LGBT youth is 2 ½ times more likely. [2]
• Suicide: Gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide
than their heterosexual counterparts.[3]
How is their education being aected?
• Gay teens in U.S. schools are often subjected to such intense bullying that they’re
unable to receive an adequate education. LGBT youth identied bullying problems
as the second most important problem in their lives, after non-accepting families,
compared to non-LGBT youth identifying classes/exams/grades. [1]
• LGBT youth who reported they were frequently harassed in school had lower grade
point averages than students who were less often harassed. [4]
• One survey revealed that more than one-third of gay respondents had missed an
entire day of school in the past month because they felt unsafe there.[5]
• LGBT youth feel they have nowhere to turn. Sixty percent of LGBT students did not
report incidents to school sta. One-third who reported an incident said the sta did
nothing in response. [6]
What can we do to help?
• Schools should oer a safe and respectful learning environment for everyone. When bullying is allowed to take
place, it aects everyone. The 2011 National School Climate survey recommends: [7]
• Gay Straight Alliances (GSAs). School clubs provide safe spaces and support networks for LGBT students. Students
who attended schools with GSAs reported fewer homophobic remarks, more intervention from school personnel
and a greater sense of connectedness.
• Supportive educators. LGBT Students who report having a greater number of supportive sta (six or more) had
higher GPAs.
• Comprehensive bullying/harassment policies and laws. Students reported that school sta intervened twice as
often in schools with comprehensive bullying/harassment policies.
Help end bullying at your school with the following actions:
• Be alert to signs of distress.
• Work with student councils to have programs on respect, school safety and anti-bullying.
• Ask school personnel to have a discussion at an assembly or an after-school activity about gay prejudice.
• Help start a Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) chapter at your local high school.
• Arrange for a group like GLSEN to present bullying prevention activities and programs at your school.
• Do encourage anyone whos being bullied to tell a teacher, counselor, coach, nurse, or his or her parents or
guardians. If the bullying continues, report it yourself.
Other Resources
National Association of School Psychologists
Phone Number: (301) 657-0270
Website: www.nasponline.org
American Psychological Association
Phone Number: (202) 336-5500
Website: www.apa.org
Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists
Phone Number: (215) 222-2800
Website: www.aglp.org
The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network
Phone Number: (212) 727-0135
Website: www.glsen.org
Human Rights Campaign
Phone Number: (800) 777-4723
Website: www.hrc.org
Human Rights Watch
Phone Number: (212) 290-4700
Website: www.hrw.org
National Youth Advocacy Coalition
Phone Number: (800) 541-6922
Website: www.nyacyouth.org
Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
Phone Number: (202) 467-8180
Website: www.pag.org
[1] Human Rights Campaign. (2013). Growing Up LGBT in America: HRC Youth Survey Report Key Findings. Washing-
ton, D.C.
[2] IMPACT. (2010). Mental health disorders, psychological distress, and suicidality in a diverse sample of lesbian, gay,
bisexual, and transgender youths. American Journal of Public Health. 100(12), 2426-32.
[3] CDC. (2011). Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Risk Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9-12:
Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
[4] Kosciw, J. G., Greytak, E. A., Bartkiewicz, M. J., Boesen, M. J., & Palmer, N. A. (2012). The 2011
National School Climate Survey: The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in our
nations schools. New York: GLSEN.
[5] ibid.
[6] ibid
[7] ibid.