On Thursday, the Human Rights Campaign released the results of the most inclusive, farthest-reaching study ever conducted on the home, social, and scholastic lives of LGBT youth. Over 10,000 13-17 year-old LGBTfolk participated, from all over the country. Rebecca Trounson, of the LA Times, describes the study's methodology:
The survey was conducted online from April 16 through May 20. It was advertised through social media, as well as through LGBT youth centers across the country. The researchers said the survey method is not unusual for targeting hard-to-reach populations but may not represent a truly random sample.
As a control group, the study used a sample of 500 self-identified straight teens.
The results are about what you'd expect. Half of all LGBT teens are "happy"; half aren't. Most are out to their very close friends, but only 63% are out to their families. Just over a quarter of LGBT teens say their "biggest problems" are feeling unaccapted by their families or peers, or else worries about coming out; 22% of their straight peers say their "biggest problems" involve scholastics. 73% of LGBT youth feel they're at their most genuine in their online lives, and must to some extent conceal their natures in real-world interactions. Half of all LGBT teens, but only a quarter of all straight teens, have been physically attacked in school. Nevertheless, LGBT teens are optimistic: three quarters say they believe their situations will improve as they get older.
To this reader, the study's most troubling statistic has to do with geography. As explained by Trounson:
Fewer than half of gay teenagers said they believe their community is accepting of people like them, and 63 percent said they would need to move to another town or part of the country to find acceptance.
The seemingly unavoidable implication is that there are great swaths of America in which it's unwise to spawn.
The best place to spawn, it seems, is California: 62% of LGBT teens in California say their communities are gay-friendly, while an average of only 49% of gay teens elsewhere say the same.
Dig into all the survey data here. There's lots more to see, presented in an attractive and accessible PDF.
Incidentally, the study was released during the first week of Chad Griffin's tenure as the president of HRC. He kicked off his presidency speaking in Salt Lake City about the plight of LGBT youth. See the local FOX affiliate's coverage AFTER THE JUMP ...