Growing Up LGBTQ+

When you’re young and LGBTQ+, coming out is only half the battle. Learn more about the issues affecting LGBTQ+ youths and what can be done to change their reality.

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Hi! I’m here to help you learn more about what it means to be young and LGBTQ+. If growing up is hard, growing up LGBTQ+ can be harder. LGBTQ+ youths are trying to find their place in the world, as they grapple with unique challenges, dangers and systemic problems. There’s a lot to unpack, so let’s get started.

Coming home

What would happen if you couldn’t come home? Explore the staggering statistics and harsh realities of being young, homeless and LGBTQ+.

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On the street

Homelessness among LGBTQ+ youths isn't just an issue; it's a full-blown epidemic.

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A good man

The day Bryan Wilmoth’s father discovered he was gay was the last day Bryan spent in his family home.

Mind the gap

Digging into the issue of mental health has revealed disturbing trends among LGBTQ+ youths. And biology isn't to blame. Learn more about the complex factors behind the mental health challenges faced by many LGBTQ+ youth.

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It's complicated

Being LGBTQ+ is more accepted now than ever before. So why do mental health issues continue to run high in this population?

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“I watched her die inside”

When DeShanna Neal’s son began to dress and act like a girl, she saw the impact of societal shunning firsthand: “I watched her die inside.”

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Bullied for being gay

The children at 13-year-old Tyrone Unsworth's school told him relentlessly to take his own life. So one day, Tyrone did.

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Unintended consequences

Conversion therapy touts itself as a way to turn gay kids straight. But the effects can be far more damaging.

Under attack

Being different has always made people vulnerable to violence--whether that be a difference of race, religious beliefs or political views. The same goes for differences in sexual and gender identities. Explore the violence facing LGBTQ+ youth and what factors could change the statistics.

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Safety, in numbers

Cyber bullying gets a lot of attention these days. But among LGBTQ+ youths, physical violence is still a very real threat.

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Missing in action

Teachers are supposed to look out for all students. But for LGBTQ+ youths being bullied, some teachers seem to be coming up short.

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Lasting Impact

For LGBTQ+ youths, the effects of bullying at a young age can last well into adulthood.

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Beyond the schoolyard

Angie Zapata, a transgender woman, was just 18 years old when she met the man who would end her life.

Getting accepted

Explore the impact of support over rejection among LGBTQ+ youth.

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A new place to call home

When Dylan Lewis's mother kicked him out for being gay, he found a new home — in the Deep South.

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“My dad is the greatest ever”

There are positive stories of coming out to family and friends — like this one from Morgan Marsh, who has "the greatest dad ever."

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Letting go

When their daughter came out as transgender, the Pizer family had to navigate the difficult journey toward acceptance.

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“I had to do whatever it took to not be gay”

When a love letter from a boy came addressed to Nathan Hoskins, his mother drove him out to the country, a shotgun in her hands.

A way forward

The studies and stories highlighting the issues impacting LGBTQ+ youth are also showing us solutions--a way forward. Learn more about the work being done to change the status quo and turn the tide for LGBTQ+ youth.

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Home court advantage

When young people come out as gay, bisexual or transgender, having the support of their families makes all the difference.

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Getting schooled

Schools can be intimidating places for LGBTQ+ youths. But research shows the solution is simple — and it starts with this toolbox.

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A network of support

LGBTQ+ youths have a lot of very specific needs, and yet, of the programs in place to help this population, few are designed to actually fill those needs.

The Stats

Learn about the demographics of LGBTQ+ youth in the US

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Current estimates of lgb teen population in the US

It was just a few years ago that the CDC released the first nationally representative study of the health risks of LGB youths. Here's what the researchers found.

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Current estimates of US teens who are transgender

The research on transgender youths has only just begun. Here's how the numbers break down across the U.S.

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Unsafe at school

LGBTQ+ youths routinely face greater risks at school than their straight counterparts. Learn what the CDC found in a national survey on youth risk behavior.

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At risk for suicide

Surveys have unlocked a dangerous trend: lesbian, gay and bisexual teenagers are at significantly higher risk for suicide than their non-LGB peers.

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Citations & Sources

American Psychological Association. Toolbox to Promote Healthy LGBTQ Youth. Retrieved from

CDC (2016). Infographic LBG Youth Report School Violence. Retrieved from

CDC. LGBT Youth. CDC: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health. Retrieved from

CDC (2016). Sexual Minority Youth Data Infographics. Retrieved from

Coming out pansexual to my dad [Video File]. Retrieved from

Durso, L. E., Gates, G. J. (2012, July). Serving Our Youth: Findings from a National Survey of Service Providers Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth Who Are Homeless or At Risk of Becoming Homeless. The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law. Retrieved from

Frances McClelland Institute. How School Bullying Impacts Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Young Adults. Frances McClelland Institute: Research Link, 4, (1). Retrieved from

Frosch, D. (2008, August 2). Death of a Transgender Woman Is Called a Hate Crime. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Gates, G. J. (2017, January 11). In U.S., More Adults Identifying as LGBT. Gallup. Retrieved from

Herman, J., Flores, A., Brown, T., et al. (2017, January). Age of Individuals Who Identify as Transgender in the United States. The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law. Retrieved from

Higgins, M. (2016, October 18). LBGT Students Are Not Safe at School. The Atlantic. Retrieved from

Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health Issues and Research Gaps and Opportunities. The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding (2011). National Academies Press, 4. Retrieved from

Kann, L., Olsen, E.O., McManus, T., et al. (2016, August). Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Related Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9–12 — United States and Selected Sites, 2015. Surveillance Summaries. Retrieved from

Kates, J., Ranji, U., Beamesderfer, A., Salganicoff, A., & Dawson, L. (2016, November). Health and Access to Care and Coverage for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Individuals in the U.S.. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Keuroghlian, A.S., Shtasel, D., Bassuk, E. L. (2014). Out on the Street: A Public Health and Policy Agenda for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth Who Are Homeless. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. Retrieved from

Lewis, D. (2017, May 23). My Family Didn’t Accept Me. Ole Miss Did. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Mallory, C., Brown T. N. T., Conron, K. (2018, January). Conversion Therapy and LGBT Youth. The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law. Retrieved from

Minter, S. & Krehely, J. (2011, February 7). New Research Calls for a Revolution in Public Policy for LGBT Children and Youth. Center for American Progress. Retrieved from

Musumeci, N. (2016, December 6). Bullied gay teen who committed suicide said peers wanted him dead. New York Post. Retrieved from

NBC News (2014, August 3). Left Behind: LGBT Homeless Youth Struggle to Survive on the Streets. NBC News. Retrieved from

Neal, D. (2017, April 13). 'Do You Want a Happy Little Girl or a Dead Little Boy?': My Choice as a Mother. Vice: Broadly. Retrieved from

Nolan, T. (2012, May 17). Family Acceptance: Groundbreaking ‘Best Practice’ for Reducing Suicide Risk for LGBT Youth. Huffington Post. Retrieved from

Park, A. (2010, December 6). The Protective Effect of Family Acceptance for Gay Teens. Time. Retrieved from

Russell, S., Fish, J. (2016, March). Mental Health in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Youth. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology. Retrieved from

Seaton, J. (2017, March 29). Homeless Rates for LGBT teens are alarming, but parents can make a difference. The Washington Post. Retrieved from

Story Corps. (2012, January 13). Nathan Hoskins and Sally Evans [Audio File]. Retrieved from

Story Corps. (2014, June 18). A Good Man [Video File]. Retrieved from

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2016). Sexual Minority Youth Data Infographics. Retrieved from