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LGBT Youth in the District of Columbia
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The DC Center for the LGBT Community presents a critical analysis from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), which was administered to high school students in the District of Columbia in 2010. The data reveal grave disparities between the health and well-being of sexual minority students and their peers. The data clearly beckon greater attention and action. Main findings include:

  • Five percent of DC high school students identify as gay or lesbian (GL), 7% as bisexual (B), 3% as questioning or unsure (Q), and 1% as transgender (T).
  • Students who identify as LGBTQ experience greater levels of physical and sexual violence, electronic bullying, and harassment compared to their heterosexual and non-transgender peers.
  • LGBT-identified students are more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviors (such as alcohol and drug use), feel more depressed, and seriously consider suicide.
  • Transgender youth are three times more likely to be bullied on school property and five times more likely to be electronically bullied compared to non-transgender youth. They are also three times more likely to be physically forced to have sexual intercourse.
  • Black and African American students who identify as gay or lesbian are more likely miss school out of fear for their safety, more likely to use drugs, and less likely to consume alcohol compared to White gay or lesbian students.

Abbreviations used in tables: GL=Gay and Lesbian; B=Bisexual; Q=Questioning; H=Heterosexual; T=Transgender; NT=Non-transgender.

Bullying

Many DC students whose peers perceive them as LGBT were harassed at least once last year.

GL
22%

B
29%

H
8%

 

 

 

GLB students are more afraid of getting beaten up at school.

GL 12%

B
17%

H
10%

 

 

 

Transgender students are more than three times as likely to have ever been bullied on school property.

T
35%

NT 10% 

 

 

 

 

GLBTQ students are subject to more electronic bullying on social networks, emails, and text messages.

GL
22%  

B
21%

Q
24%

H
9%

T
53%

NT
10%

Transgender students are more likely to miss at least one day of school in the past month after feeling they might be unsafe at school, or on the way to or from school.

T
35%

NT
8%

 

 

 

 

Violence

GLBTQ students are more likely to have experienced violence by their boyfriends or girlfriends in the past year, including being hit, slapped, or physically hurt.

GL 19%  

B 20%

Q 29%

H  13%

T 30%

NT 15% 

GLBTQ students are more likely to be physically forced against their will to have sexual intercourse.

GL 18%  

B 24%

Q 25%

H  7%

T 28%

NT 9% 

Transgender students are three times as likely to have been in at least a dozen physical fights in the past year.

T 11%

NT 4% 

 

 

 

 

Transgender students are twelve times as likely to have been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property at least a dozen times in the past year.

T 12%

NT 1% 

 

 

 

 

The risk of being in a gang or crew in the past year more than doubles for transgender students.

T 57%

NT 19% 

 

 

 

 

Drugs and Alcohol

GLB students are more likely to have drunk alcohol before the age of 13.

GL 40%  

B 29%

H 19%

 

 

 

GLB students are more likely to report binge drinking, consuming five or more alcoholic drinks in a row in the past 30 days.

GL 16%  

B 22%

H 11%

 

 

 

GL students are use heroin at twice the rate of bisexual students and three times that of heterosexual students.

GL 10%  

B 5%

H 3%

 

 

 

GLB students are more likely to use meth.

GL 7%  

B 6%

H 2%

 

 

 

GLB students are more likely to use ecstasy.

GL 16%  

B 6%

H 3%

 

 

 

GLB students are more likely to use steroid pills.

GL 15%  

B 6%

H 2%

 

 

 

More transgender students are likely to have used illegal drugs in the past month.

T
38%

NT 19% 

 

 

 

 

More transgender students have tried smoking.

T
71%

NT 42% 

 

 

 

 

Transgender students are almost ten times as likely to have smoked a cigarette before the age of 9.

T
22%

NT 2.5% 

 

 

 

 

Transgender students are more likely to have 5 or more alcoholic drinks in a row, 3-5 days in the past month.

T
12%

NT 2% 

 

 

 

 

Transgender students are nearly five times more likely to use marijuana 100 or more times during their life.

T
53%

NT 11% 

 

 

 

 

Transgender students are more than seven times more likely to use any form of cocaine.

T
29%

NT 4% 

 

 

 

 

Sexual Behaviors and STDs

GLB students are more likely to have engaged in sexual intercourse; transgender students are less likely.

GL
66%  

B
71%

H
53%

T
34%

NT
54%

 

Using a condom during one’s last sex act is less likely in sexually active GLBQ students.

GL
27%  

B
37%

Q
36%

H
41%

 

 

At least one in 10 students who are sexually active used birth control (pill/shot form) before they last had sex.

GL
10%  

B
16%

H
13%

 

 

 

A high rate of DC students have been tested for STDs at least once, though less so for transgender and Q students.

GL
68%  

B
62%

Q
35%

H
52%

T
39%

NT
53%

HIV/AIDS

At least three-fourths of DC students report being taught in school about AIDS/HIV infection.

GL
81%  

B
75%

H
86%

 

 

 

Mental Well-being

During the past 12 months, GLBQ students reported higher percentages of depression, defined as feeling “so sad or hopeless almost every day for 2 weeks or more in a row that you stopped doing some usual activities.”

GL
25%  

B
50%

Q
48%

H
22%

 

 

GLBTQ students in DC were more likely to have seriously considered a suicide attempt in the past year.

GL
24%  

B
26%

Q
22%

H  9%

T
23%

NT
11% 

GLB students are more likely to have skipped meals for at least 24 hours to manage their weight.

GL 32%  

B 22%

H  13%

 

 

 

GL students have recently vomited or used laxatives to manage their weight at twice the rate of bisexual students and three times the rate of heterosexual students.

GL 17%  

B 8%

H  5%

 

 

 

 

In focus: The intersection of race and sexual orientation

 

Black or African American gay and lesbian students  

White gay and lesbian students

Alcohol and Other Substance Use

 

 

Had five or more alcoholic drinks in a row on one or more of the past 30 days.

13%

53%

Used marijuana at least once during their life.

60%

0%

Used any form of cocaine at least once during their life.

15%

0%

Used heroin at least once during their life.

14%

0%

Used methamphetamines at least once during their life.

8%

0%

Bullying

 

 

Missed at least one day of school in the past month after feeling they might be unsafe at school, or on the way to or from school.

11%

0%

Violence

 

 

Experienced violence by their boyfriends or girlfriends in the past year, including being hit, slapped, or physically hurt.

16%

53%

Mental Well-being

 

 

Seriously considered a suicide attempt in the past year.

16%

53%

Data source: Center for Disease Control, 2010, Youth Risk Behavior Survey: Sexual Minority Baseline. District of Columbia Public Schools.

 

 

 

The DC Center for the LGBT Community
(202) 682-2245
2000 14th Street NW, Suite 105
Washington, DC 20009
<<<www.thedccenter.org>>>

United Way #9437
Combined Federal Campaign #63963