Tuesday May 29th, 2012
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth in Washington, D.C. public high schools are at elevated risk for harassment, drug use, and sexual assault, according to a new fact sheet from the DC Center, the city's LGBT community center.
Data from the city's 2010 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), administered to public high school students, indicate that LGBT students report bullying, violence, and unhealthy behaviors at a higher rate than heterosexual students for nearly every question asked.
Transgender youth faced the worst rates of bullying, violence, and sexual assault. Compared to non-transgender youth, twice as many transgender students reported intimate partner violence in the past year, and 28 percent of were physically forced to have sexual intercourse.
LGBQ students reported much higher rates of mental health issues. Half of bisexual and nearly half of "unsure" or questioning youth reported symptoms of depression over the past year compared to a quarter of heterosexual youth. LGBQ youth were more than twice as likely as heterosexual youth to report seriously considering suicide.
Gay and lesbian teenagers were also twice as likely as their heterosexual peers to report having their first drink before age 13. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth were more likely to have taken meth, heroin, ecstasy, and steroids. Transgender students were almost ten times as likely as non-transgender students to try smoking before the age of eight, and more than seven times as likely to have used cocaine.
The YRBS is a biannual survey of adolescent health conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data was analyzed by a team of graduate students at the George Washington University School of Public Health under the leadership of Kei Alegría Flores, MPH.
The full fact sheet is available online on the DC center website, www.thedccenter.org/facts.html
The fact sheet will also be available at an upcoming community town hall on LGBT youth homelessness on May 31. A panel of professionals working in the DC LGBT community will discuss strategies to address homelessness amongst LGBT youth in the District. Panelists include: Brian Watson of Transgender Health Empowerment, Jeff Krehely of the Center for American Progress, Leandrea Gilliam of SMYAL, and youth advocate Amena Johnson. The panel will be moderated by Sean Bugg, co-publisher and editorial director of Metro Weekly,
In addition to increased rates of harassment, violence, truancy, and substance abuse, the LGBT youth population suffers from disproportionate rates of homelessness. An estimated 20-40 percent of the nation's homeless youth are LGBT, according to the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce.
The DC Center is the area's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community center. The DC Center works to celebrate, strengthen, and support community among the LGBT residents and organizations of metropolitan Washington. Find out more at www.thedccenter.org.
TOWN HALL MEETING ON HOMELESS LGBT YOUTH
Thursday May 31st
2121 P Street NW