LGBTQ+ Youth Are Living in Crisis: Key Findings From HRC Foundation Analysis of CDC Data

Produced by the HRC Foundation

In August 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released public access data files for the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance (YRBS), a national survey of high school students in public and private schools in the United States.

HRC Foundation analyzed data from these files and found that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) youth are living in a state of crisis. Whether it is being bullied in school, poor mental health or substance use, LGBTQ teens experience marginalization from multiple angles.

The analysis shows that LGBTQ youth of color are often at even greater risk of experiencing these problems. Any actions taken to improve the well-being and success of LGBTQ youth must also consider the situations of youth who sit at these intersections and face multiple forms of oppression, bias and stigma, including those based on race, gender, age, religion, immigration status, ability and all marginalized identities.

The HRC Foundation’s Project THRIVE released an executive summary of the data that provides an overview of key findings based on analysis.

Key Findings:

  • 31% of LGBTQ youth, 43% of transgender youth and 40% of questioning youth have been bullied at school, compared to 16% of their non-LGBTQ peers.
  • 17% of LGBTQ youth, 29% of transgender youth and 30% of questioning youth have been threatened or injured with a weapon at school, compared to 6% of non-LGBTQ youth.
  • 24% of LGBTQ youth, 35% of transgender youth and 41% of questioning youth have skipped school because they felt unsafe at school or on their way to school, compared to 8% of non-LGBTQ youth.
  • 78% of non-LGBTQ youth mostly earn As and Bs in school, compared to only 65% of LGBTQ youth, 55% of transgender youth, 63% of LGBTQ youth of color and 63% of questioning youth.


LGBTQ Youth Are Living in Crisis: Key Findings From HRC Foundation Analysis of CDC Data

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