Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual (LGB) students are far more likely to suffer greater amounts of violence through their lives. According to the first federal survey on sexuality, LGB teens are far more liable to attempt suicide, consume hard drugs and experience rape.
For the first time, the federal government has held a health data study at the hands of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to determine violence risks within high school students, including LGB teens. Many studies have already been made on the subject, discovering the whole LGBTQ community is far more likely to suffer violence and harsh moments because of their sexual orientation. However, these are the first numbers on the matter released by the federal government.
The research is a part of the government’s biennial Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which is one of the largest studies on health data among teenagers across the country. The research asked students several questions, including their sexual orientation and preferences on sexual encounters; The survey did not include transgender teens.
Among the preliminary numbers, 8 percent of High school students across the U.S identified themselves as a part of the LGB community which translates into 1.3 million students.
According to the survey, around 40 percent of LGB students had considered suicide at least once in their lives and 29 percent of them were found to attempt suicide the year before the survey was done.
High Schoolers from the LGB community are three times more likely to be raped when compared to their straight classmates and are twice as likely to be threatened or injured by a weapon on their school property.
It is very common for these teens to skip school or drop out because of bullying and “not feeling safe” within their school, almost a third of the LGB student population had faced bullying.
Dr. Jonathan Mermin, who works as a senior official for the CDC and had a part in the survey, assured: ” I found the numbers heartbreaking, nations are judged by the health and well-being of their children,”
Mermin also stated that the levels of violence on LGB teens are unacceptable and should be acted on quickly.
The research also found that at least 6 percent of the LGB students had used illegal drugs, including heroin when compared to only 1.3 percent of heterosexual students. Although the reasons for using harsh drugs are not explained in the survey, many studies have confirmed the LGBTQ community copes with pain by using illegal substances.
The survey questioned around 15,600 students between ages 14 to 17; researchers determined there’s a high amount of adolescent fluidity when it comes to sexual orientation. When asked to identify themselves sexually, 3.2 percent of the students chose “not sure” as they confirmed having sexual contact with both sexes.
A population of 13.6 percent assured they were not sure about their sexual orientation despite only having sexual contact with the opposite sex. Meanwhile, 25 percent identified as heterosexual.
Researchers admit the survey had limitations, such as segregating the research to only school attendees and not expanding the investigation to dropouts or students who regularly miss classes, as well as the interpretations of the “not sure” option.
Even though the transgender population was not included in the survey, the CDC assured the possibility of a new research wich includes them. The initiative will come due to the recent amount of attention the community has had; the pilot survey might be ready as soon as 2017.
— Taylor Holden (@Holden_TA) August 12, 2016
Social stigma and tabús have led the LGBTQ community to segregate and become marginalized by society. Even though in the last decade social acceptance on the matter has increased there’s still a long way to go.
Dr. Elizabeth Miller, who is in charge of the adolescent and young adult medicine at the Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, assured that the intensity of homophobic attitudes and the acceptance of victimization on the gay community has marginalized a large group of young people.
In the published survey, Dr. Miller assured self-acceptance is a big part of overcoming some of this violence rates, and the work should begin at home, confirming conversations about sexuality, relationships, and attraction might be needed in the household.
The recent study praises more help and support programs for the LGBTQ community, especially for young kids and teenagers. Dr. Houry mentions in the survey programs like Green Dot, which supports and trains students to cope with bullying and help others who suffer from it.