Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the national Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance results for 2019. It’s clear from the national data that many LGBTQ young people continue to suffer higher health and suicide risks than their peers. This follows the same trends present in an HRC analysis of the 2015 and 2017 data — LGBTQ students are more likely to experience victimization, violence and suicidality. In many areas of the data, transgender students are facing more disparities in 2019 than they were in 2017.
The data show that 43% of transgender youth have been bullied on school property. 29% of transgender youth, 21% of gay and lesbian youth and 22% of bisexual youth have attempted suicide.
Since the YRBS began including data on sexual orientation in 2015 and gender identity in 2017, we’ve seen consistently that LGBTQ youth face greater health disparities than their cisgender straight peers. This data continues to make clear a truth that we’ve long known — that LGBTQ students are not getting the support, affirmation and safety they need and deserve. We must ensure that adults are doing everything possible to support LGBTQ youth, especially those who are living at the intersections of multiple marginalized identities. Complete and robust data collection for our entire community is vital to putting systems and structures in place to support LGBTQ students. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation will continue to provide resources for LGBTQ students and educators across the country and will work with our network of youth-serving professionals to be sure they have the resources and tools they need.
Ellen Kahn, HRC Senior Director, Programs and Partnerships
In 2019, many states collected gender identity data. Data for 14 of these states across more than 107,000 youth are included in publicly available files on the CDC’s website. Below are initial key findings from HRC’s original analysis of these 2019 data:
- 29% of transgender youth have been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property, compared to 7% of cisgender youth; transgender youth were more likely in 2019 to have been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property than reported in 2017
- 16% of gay and lesbian youth and 11% of bisexual youth have been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property, compared to 7% of straight youth
- 43% of transgender youth have been bullied on school property, compared to 18% of cisgender youth; transgender youth were more likely in 2019 to have been bullied on school property than reported in 2017
- 29% of gay or lesbian youth and 31% of bisexual youth have been bullied on school property, compared to 17% of straight youth
- 29% of transgender youth have attempted suicide, compared to 7% of cisgender youth
- 21% of gay and lesbian youth and 22% of bisexual youth have attempted suicide, compared to 7% of straight youth
The full YRBS results can be found here.
These data underscore the need and urgency for youth-serving professionals to be well equipped to meet the needs of LGBTQ youth. The HRC Foundation has many resources for LGBTQ students and educators, including our Welcoming Schoolsprogram, resources for LGBTQ youth and resources specific to COVID-19. If you’d be interested in speaking with an HRC expert about this data, I’d be happy to help connect you. After all, youth-serving professionals who have attended the annual HRC Foundation’s Time to THRIVE conference are 64% more likely to say they are prepared to promote physical safety of LGBTQ youth than youth-serving professionals who haven’t attended Time to THRIVE.