While few nationally representative, large surveys of youth ask about sexual orientation and gender identity, best estimates suggest that between 7-9% of youth identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. Using these estimates, the Williams Institute reports that there are approximately 3.2 million LGBTQ youth between the ages of eight and 18, more than half of whom (52%) are youth of color (compared to 39% of LGBT adults who are people of color). LGBT youth are at risk for family rejection, homelessness, discrimination and bullying at school, and harmful so-called "conversion therapy" practices. LGBTQ youth are also uniquely resilient and build amazing support structures for themselves.
This page contains resources addressing the challenges and strengths of LGBTQ youth.
June 2017 - LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in juvenile detention and correctional facilities. LGBTQ youth who are incarcerated in juvenile detention and correctional facilities face bias in adjudication, and mistreatment and abuse in confinement facilities. LGBTQ youth also lack supportive services when leaving the criminal and juvenile justice systems, often forcing them back into negative interactions with law enforcement. This report highlights their experiences and the need to reform the juvenile justice system.
April 2017 - This new report examines the harmful and unnecessary policies that exclude transgender students from accessing appropriate school facilities. Despite the success of inclusive policies across the country, seventeen states have introduced legislation designed to ensure transgender students are relegated to facilities that align with the sex on their birth certificate, rather than their gender identity.
February 2017 - To help make sense of the current policy landscape in the states, this report looks at legal equality for transgender people across the country. The gender identity tally is comprised of 25 state laws and policies in five key categories: Non-Discrimination, LGBT Youth, Health and Safety, Ability to Correct the Name and Gender Marker on Identity Documents, and Adoption and Parenting.
January 2017 - As part of ongoing efforts to protect transgender people from discrimination, there is growing momentum to ensure that transgender students have a fair chance at educational success. This guide provides high-level messaging to help build support for policies and laws that protect transgender students and their ability to access school facilities that match their gender identity.
August 2016 - This companion report examines how as many as 3.2 million LGBTQ youth are vulnerable to discrimination, profiling, and mistreatment in the juvenile and criminal justice systems. The report also documents the rampant mistreatment and abuse that LGBTQ young people face in court proceedings, detention and re-entry.
August 2016 - Schools laws impact the lives of LGBT students and youth, from prohibiting discrimination, bullying, and harassment, to laws and policies that prohibit students and teachers from talking about LGBT issues.
August 2016 - Conversion therapy laws prohibit licensed mental health practitioners from subjecting LGBT minors to harmful "conversion therapy" practices that attempt to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.
June 2016 - LGBT and gender non-conforming girls, particularly girls of color, are drastically over-represented in the criminal justice system. This infographic highlights the unique experiences of LGBT and GNC girls with criminal justice systems.
April 2015 - LGBT Policy Spotlight: Conversion Therapy Bans offers an overview of laws protecting LGBT youth from conversion therapy practices that attempt to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. These practices have been widely discredited and renounced, including by groups like the American Psychological Association.
November 2013 - Safe public discussions about suicide can play a critical role in increasing acceptance of LGBT people and supporting their well-being, while minimizing the risk of a phenomenon known as suicide contagion.
Noviembre 2013 - El debate público y prudente sobre el suicidio juega un papel muy importante en generar una mayor aceptación de personas LGBT, contribuir a su bienestar y minimizar el riesgo de que se produzca el fenómeno denominado contagio suicida.