While many sexual minority youth cope with the transition from childhood to adulthood successfully and become healthy and productive adults, others struggle as a result of challenges such as stigma, discrimination, family disapproval, social rejection, and violence.
For this report, CDC analyzed data from Youth Risk Behavior Surveys conducted during 2001–2009 in seven states—Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin—and six large urban school districts—Boston, Chicago, Milwaukee, New York City, San Diego, and San Francisco—that collected data on high school students’ sexual identity (heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or unsure), sex of sexual contacts (sexual contact with the opposite sex only, with the same sex only, or with both sexes), or both.
Sexual minority students were defined as those who identified themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual; who had had sexual contact only with persons of the same sex; or who had had sexual contact with persons of both sexes.
Data demonstrate that LGB students may be at substantial risk for these serious outcomes: The majority of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) students cope with the transition from childhood through adolescence to adulthood successfully and become healthy and productive adults.
However, this report documents that LGB students have a higher prevalence of many health risk behaviors compared with heterosexual students.
These health risks are most apparent among students who identify themselves as LGB.
Specifically, this report found that compared to their heterosexual peers, LGB students are significantly more likely to report: While physical and sexual violence and bullying are serious health dangers on their own, a combination of complex factors can place young people at high risk for suicide, depression, addiction, poor academic performance, and other severe consequences.
This report describes the first nationally representative study of U. lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) high school students.
It compares the prevalence of 118 health behaviors among sexual minority students to the prevalence of these behaviors among non-sexual minority students.
These data highlight the need for collective action to keep these students safe.
Although there are no simple solutions to address the health risks LGB students’ face, research demonstrates the importance of school, community, and family support for LGB youth.
This report represents the first time that the federal government has conducted an analysis of this magnitude across such a wide array of states, large urban school districts, and risk behaviors.