LGBTQ+ Health

Far too many LGBTQ+ youth are treated poorly simply based on who they love and how they identify. Due to these upsetting experiences, many LGBTQ+ youth report having poor health and life outcomes.  

LGBTQ+ Youth & Family

Family support plays a major role in health outcomes. With support from parents and other family members, LGBTQ+ youth have greater self-esteem and a lower risk of depression, distress, hopelessness, and substance use. Below are statistics from the HRC 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report pertaining to family support and health:

  • 24% of LGBTQ+ youth can “definitely” be themselves at home
  • 25% of LGBTQ+ youth have families who show support for them by getting involved in the larger LGBTQ+ community
  • 67% of LGBTQ+ hear their families make negative comments about LGBTQ+ people
  • 48% of LGBTQ+ youth say their families make them feel bad about being LGBTQ+
  • Transgender youth are over two times more likely to be taunted by family for their identity than gay, lesbian or bisexual youth


LGBTQ+ Youth & Mental Health

Youth in the LGBTQ+ community continue to have a disproportionate rate of mental illness compared to non-LGBTQ+ youth. LGBTQ+ youth face a variety of stressors—harassment, rejection, bullying, isolation, and a lack of belonging—that have a major impact on their mental health. Below are statistics from the HRC 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report pertaining to mental health:

  • 77% of LGBTQ+ teens reported feeling depressed or down in the past week
  • 95% of LGBTQ+ youth reported trouble sleeping at night
  • More than 70% of LGBTQ+ youth reported feeling worthlessness and hopelessness in the past week
  • Nearly 30% of LGBTQ+ youth had attempted suicide at least once in the past year compared to 6% of non-LGBTQ+ youth
  • 85% of LGBTQ+ youth rate their average stress level as a ‘5’ or higher on a scale of 1-10

LGBTQ+ Youth & Substance Use

LGBTQ+ youth are more at risk for substance use than their non-LGBTQ+ peers mostly because of the daily prejudice and challenges they face.  Below are statistics from the HRC 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report pertaining to substance use:

Compared to non-LGBTQ+ youth, LGBTQ+ youth have... 

  • 1.3 times the odds of heavy alcohol use
  • 1.6 times the odds of marijuana use
  • 2.9 times the odds of injection drug use
  • 3.3 times the odds of cocaine use


LGBTQ+ Youth & Violence

Sadly, many LGBTQ+ youth are at an increased risk of experiencing violence, specifically sexual violence. Below are statistics from the HRC 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report pertaining to violence:

  • 11% of LGBTQ+ youth reported that they have been sexually attacked or raped because of their actual or assumed identity
  • 77% of LGBTQ+ youth reported receiving unwanted sexual comments, jokes, and gestures
  • 20% of LGBTQ+ youth reported that they were forced to sexual things they did not want to do
  • 3 in 10 LGBTQ+ youth have received physical threats due to their identity
  • 50% of transgender girls have been physically threatened


LGBTQ+ Youth & School

Since youth spend majority of their time at school, their experiences in the school environment have a critical impact on their health. Unfortunately, majority of LGBTQ+ youth experience negative and hostile school environments. Below are statistics from the HRC 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report pertaining to the school environment:

  • 27% of LGBTQ+ youth can “definitely” be themselves in school
  • 13% of LGBTQ+ youth reported hearing positive messages about being LGBTQ+ in school
  • 12% of LGBTQ+ youth received information about safe sex that was relevant to them as an LGBTQ+ person
  • Only 26% of LGBTQ+ youth reported that they always feel safe in the classroom
  • 70% of LGBTQ+ youth have been bullied at school because of their sexual orientation or identity
  • 43% of LGBTQ+ youth have been bullied on school property
  • 51% of transgender youth can never use the restrooms or locker rooms that match their gender identity
  • Only 1 in 3 transgender youth are always called by their true name in school
  • Only 1 in 5 transgender youth are always called by their pronouns in school
  • Just 5% of LGBTQ+ youth say all their teachers and school staff are supportive of the LGBTQ+ community

LGBTQ+ Resources

You should never be afraid to express who you are or who you love. Here are some resources specifically for LGBTQ+ youth:

1. The Trevor Project

  • Leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevent services to LGBTQ+ youth
  • TrevorLifeline: 1-866-488-7386 (available 24/7)
  • TrevorChat (Confidential online instant messaging with a Trevor Counselor  available 24/7)
  • TrevorText: Text START to 678678 (Confidential text messaging with a Trevor Counselor available 24/7)
  • TrevorSpace(affirming international peer-to-peer community for LGBTQ+ youth and friends)

 2. The Human Rights Campaign

  • Largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for LGBTQ+ Americans with more than 3 million members
  • Become a member and connect with others in your community

3. Q Chat Space

  • A community for LGBTQ+ teens to chat with like-minded peers in live chats with verified facilitators

4. Trans Lifeline

  • A trans-led organization that connects trans people to the community, support, and resources they need to survive and thrive
  • Trans Lifeline’s Peer Support Hotline: 877-565-8860

5. LGBT National Help Center

  • Provides free confidential peer-support and local resources
  • LGBT National Youth Talkline: 800-246-7743


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Human Rights Campaign