Almost every queer teen in America has been bullied because of their sexual orientation or gender identity under the Trump administration, a new study has found.
It is well-documented that LGBT+ young people are more likely that their straight counterparts to experience bullying, and are at a greater risk of developing mental health problems such as depression and eating disorders.
But a new study showed that the problem is worse than previously thought.
It found that 91 per cent of LGBT+ youth had experienced bias-based bullying, almost every queer teen in America, doubling estimates from previous research which surveyed predominantly heterosexual youth.
On top of being bullied for their gender identity or sexual orientation, researchers also found the 73 per cent of queer youth were targeted by bullies for other reasons, for example their weight (57 per cent), race or ethnicity (30 per cent) or religion (27 per cent).
Each type of bullying was found to have negative health consequences — both physical and mental — including stress, sleep problems, depression and unhealthy weight behaviours.
Gay-Straight Alliances ‘may be able to reduce bullying’.
The study was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine by researchers at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut.
Lead author Leah Lessard, a postdoctoral fellow at the Rudd Center, said: “The harmful effects and wide range of bias-based bullying experienced by sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth calls attention to the importance of promoting broad-reaching inclusion and acceptance within schools.”
She added: “When considering approaches to reduce health risk, we need to better understand the wide range of bias-based bullying experienced by SGM adolescents.
“Given that multiple forms of bias-based bullying can worsen negative health behaviours, it is critical to understand how school-based interventions, such as Gay Straight Alliances (GSAs), may be able to reduce targeted bullying.”
The researchers found that GSAs in schools and reduced all types of bullying, am were a “promising avenue to support healthy outcomes” for queer teens.