In The“I live in such a narrow- minded community— it’s really hard on me. I deal with so much ignorance on a daily At basis.”Growing upLGBT in America“It’s nice that myHRC Youth Survey Report school is very open,Key Findings I have a lot of friends who are okay and are helpful with my being bisexual.” At
More than half (56%) of LGBT youthsay they are out to their immediatefamily; a quarter (25%) are out to theirextended family. Out to immediate family Out to extended family
At“It’s nice that myschool is very open,I have a lot of friendswho are okay and arehelpful with my beingbisexual.”
LGBT youth are more than two timesas likely as non-LGBT youth to say theyhave been verbally harassed and callednames at school. Among LGBT youth,half (51%) have been verbally harassedat school, compared to 25% amongnon-LGBT students.
In The“I live in such a narrow- minded community— it’s really hard on me. I deal with so much ignorance on a daily basis.”
HRC Youth Survey Key Findings 1INTRODUCTION better. Nevertheless, the findings of With more than 10,000 survey respon-The deck Growing Up LGBT in America are a call to action for all adults who want to dents, this is the largest known sample of LGBT youth from every region of theis stacked ensure that young people can thrive. The survey measured key factors that country, from urban, suburban and rural communities, and from a wide variety of social, cultural, ethnic, and racialThe deck is stacked against young impact the daily lives of LGBT youth, backgrounds.people growing up lesbian, gay, bisexual, including:or transgender in America. Official As the first in a series of reportsgovernment discrimination or indiffer- • A sense of being accepted by family, analyzing the landscape for LGBT youth,ence along with social ostracism leaves peers, and the larger community – the goal of this document is to summa-many teens disaffected and discon- in sports leagues, clubs, places of rize the major findings from a generalnected in their own homes and neigh- worship, school, work, online, and more analysis of all survey responses. Overborhoods. With an increase in public the next several months, the Humanawareness about anti-LGBT bullying • Access to LGBT affirmative support Rights Campaign will be engaging inand harassment and the strikingly high and services additional analysis that will providenumber of LGBT youth who are home- a better understanding of the uniqueless, in foster care, or living in high-risk • Negative experiences such as verbal experiences of specific groups of youth,situations, it is critical that we get a harassment, cyber-bullying, exclu- for example those living in conserva-better understanding of the experiences, sion from activities tive states, transgender youth, those ofneeds, and concerns of LGBT youth. different races, religious traditions, • Connection to a welcoming religious and so on.This groundbreaking research among or spiritual communitymore than 10,000 LGBT-identified youth HRC is thankful to The Trevor Project forages 13-17 provides a stark picture of • Level of optimism about the future its partnership in promoting the survey,the difficulties they face. The impact on and the ability to live a happy life as along with dozens of local and statetheir well-being is profound, however an “out” LGBT person LGBT youth-serving organizations.these youth are quite resilient. Theyfind safe havens among their peers,online and in their schools. They remainoptimistic and believe things will get
HRC Youth Survey Key Findings 2SummaryThe responses to this survey reveal that many LGBT youth are profoundly discon- 65% SURVEY DEMOGRAPHICS LGBT NONnected from their communities, in sometimes stark ways. At the same time, LGBT 58%youth often report resilience in facing today’s challenges and a sense of optimismabout tomorrow’s possibilities.Importantly, LGBT youth believe to a greater extent than their peers that they mustleave their communities to make their hopes and dreams for the future come true. 20% 18% 12%When given an opportunity to describe their most important problem or the one 6% 8% 3% 4%thing in their lives they would like to change, LGBT youth and their peers have dif- 1% N/A 2% 1% 2%ferent experiences and priorities. LGBT youth describe the challenges they face as White Black/African Hispanic/ Asian/Pacific American Other Decline tobeing directly related to their identity as LGBT. American Latino/Spanish Islander Indian/Native Answer American/ American ChicanoFor those asked to describe one thing Among those asked to describe thein their lives they would like to change most important problem facing theirright now: lives right now:LGBT youth identified Non-LGBT youth identified LGBT youth identified Non-LGBT youth identified1 Understanding/ tolerance/hate (18%) 1 Money/debt/finances (20%) 1 Non-accepting families (26%) 1 Classes/exams/ grades (25%)2 My parent/family situation (15%) 2 Appearance/weight (9%) 2 School/bullying problems (21%) 2 College/career (14%)3 Where I live/ who I live with (9%) 3 Improving mental health (7%) 3 Fear of being out or open (18%) 3 Financial pressures related to college or job (11%)
HRC Youth Survey Key Findings 3 HRC believes LGBT youth will lead lives that are more safe, healthy, and fulfilling when institutional discrimination ends and the country fully embraces young people regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. HRC is dedicated to making their lives better, through federal and state-level policy work and institutional change in the workplace, healthcare settings, schools, and beyond. HRC also works to open hearts and minds to greater acceptance and appreciation of the LGBT community, and to infuse the broader culture with a sense of LGBT pride and dignity that can reach even the most isolated young people.
HRC Youth Survey Key Findings 4WHAT’SNEXT?1 2 3HRC intends to conduct further research with thisexpansive set of data and release future in-depthreports. Topics will likely include: “Youth of Color,”“Transgender Youth,” “Home & Family,” “Community& Culture,” “School & Peers,” and “Religion & Faith,”among others. These key findings can help all youth-serving orga- nizations better understand the concerns, fears, and barriers facing LGBT youth and help them establish inclusive policies and practices. These data can inform the programmatic work of LGBT advocacy and direct service organizations, along with funders and supporters, enhancing our movement’s work on legislation and policy, administrative and reg- ulatory changes at the local, state, and federal level.
HRC Youth Survey Key Findings 54 5Parents, family and friends can use these data toincrease their own level of support and affirmationof the young LGBT people in their lives. The experiences and hopes reported by LGBT youth in this poll inspire HRC to consider new ways to improve the lives of LGBT youth immediately and in the future. HRC will engage collaboratively with local and national organizations to raise the awareness of the concerns and problems identified here and to find solutions.
HRC Youth Survey Key Findings 6PersonalWell-BeingFINDINGS Compared with their non-LGBT peers, LGBT youth in this survey report much lower levels of happiness, a higher incidence of alcohol and drug use, and less connec- tion to adult support during personal problems. They also are much more likely than their non-LGBT peers to say they can be more honest about themselves online than in real life. When asked to describe their most important problem or one thing they would like to change, LGBT youth describe the challenges they face as being directly related to their identity as LGBT. 1/3 NEED AN ADULT LGBT NON LGBT NON TO TALK TONon-LGBT youth are nearly twice LGBT youth are more likely than LGBT youth are more than Roughly three-quarters (73%) of LGBTas likely as LGBT youth to say non-LGBT youth to report that twice as likely as non-LGBT youth say they are more honest aboutthey are happy. they do not have an adult they youth to experiment with alco- themselves online than in the real can talk to about personal prob- hol and drugs. world, compared to 43% among non-Among non-LGBT youth, 67% report lems. LGBT youth.being happy while only 37% of LGBT Over half (52%) of LGBT youth sayyouth say they are happy. Among LGBT youth, about a third they have used alcohol and drugs (29%) disagreed with the statement while only 22% of non-LGBT youth “There is at least one adult I can talk say they have. to about my personal problems” while only 17% of the non-LGBT youth disagreed with it.
HRC Youth Survey Key Findings 7 Three-quarters (77%) of LGBT youth say they know things will get better. Nearly a quarter (23%) of LGBT youth “This is me, this disagree with that statement compared with only 8% of their peers. is how I was born and I’m happy Over one-half of LGBT youth (54%) say they have been verbally harassed and with it.” !!! called names involving anti-gay slurs such as “gay” and “fag.” !! Biggest Problems Among those asked to describe the most important problem facing their lives right now: What is the most difficult problem facing you in your life these days? LGBT youth identified Non-LGBT youth identified1 1 LGBT Youth Non-accepting Classes/exams/ families (26%) grades (25%) My parents/family not accepting 26% Trouble at school/Bullying 21% Afraid to be out/open 18%2 2 Eating disorders/Self-harm/Depression/Suicide 14% School/bullying College/career General being LGBT 12% problems (21%) (14%) Trouble with classes 9% Lonely 7% Religion leading to lack of acceptance 6% Problems in romantic relationship 6%3 3 Fear of being out Financial pressures Concerns about college/money for college 6% Confused about sexuality 5% or open (18%) related to college or Finding a partner/Accepting partner 5% job (11%) Drama 3% Nobody to date 2% Other 4% Don’t know/Refused 1% For those asked to describe one thing in their lives they would like to change right now: Non-LGBT Youth LGBT youth identified Non-LGBT youth identified Trouble with classes/Exams/Grades 22% College and career decisions 17% 1 1 Understanding/ Money/debt/finances Financial problems/Paying for college/Getting a job 14% tolerance/hate (18%) (20%) Family stress/Pressure 10% Life balance 8% General stress 5% Want a boyfriend/Girlfriend/Boy/Girl problems 5% 2 2 My parent/family Appearance/weight Family illness/death 3% Problems with lack of friends/Social life 3% situation (15%) (9%) Bipolar/Depression/Eating disorders/Anxiety 3% Injuries 2% I don’t have any difficult problems 2% Problems in romantic relationships 1% 3 3 Drugs/Drinking 1% Where I live/ Improving mental Other 15% who I live with (9%) health (7%) Don’t know/ Refused 1%
HRC Youth Survey Key Findings 8 “I can’t come out to anyone I know at church because they“I have been graciously will immediately received by my peers, see me as a bad person.” but the biggest issue PARE I face is my “It’s very easy to look at me and tell I’m gay and it makes me feel afraid to walk around knowing there are people here in my hometown that hate me, and people like me enough to attack me.”
HRC Youth Survey Key Findings 9“I live in such anarrow-mindedcommunityit’s really hard on me. I deal withso much ignorance on a daily basis.”ENTS,I have been called sickand perverted by them.”“I wish I could meet more gay people to talk to and get to know.”
HRC Youth Survey Key Findings 10COMMUNITYCOMPARED Compared with their peers, LGBT youth in this survey report a greater sense of isolation or separation from their community in general, and among specific com-WITH THEIR munity activities. Fewer LGBT youth have an adult in their community to talk with if they feel worried or sad, compared with their peers. When thinking of their future,PEERS LGBT youth believe to a greater extent than their peers that they must leave their community to make their hopes and dreams come true. Nearly half of LGBT youth (47%) say they do not “fit in” in their community 4 in 10 LGBT youth (42%) say the community in which they live is while only 16% of non-LGBT youth feel that way. 42% not accepting of LGBT people.
HRC Youth Survey Key Findings 11 ImmediateIn a series of questions of family 56%whether their future would Extended 25% familylikely include happiness, a Close 91%good job, a long-term partner- friendsship or marriage, children, and Classmates 64%an active role in their commu- Your 38%nities, LGBT youth often teachersdescribed a high degree Your clergy 5%of optimism, frequently LGBT NON At work 11%at similar levels as theirpeers. However, this op- At school 61%timism declined markedly At church 8%compared to their peers when Yourasked if they could achieve coaches 11% OUTthose dreams in the commu- Your doctor 16%nities where they currentlylive. The most vivid example LGBT youth are twice as likely as theiris that 83% of LGBT youth DECLINE IN OPTIMISM LGBT NON peers to say they will need to move to (Percentage decline in likelihood of life achievements if youth stay in same city/town)believe they will be happy another town or part of the country toeventually, but only 49% be- feel accepted. Among LGBT youth, 63% Establish a life- Be an long partnership Get married active part say they will need to move, while 31% Have a Go to with someone Be to someone of your Raiselieve they can be happy if they of their peers report the same. good job college you love happy you love community childrenstay in the same city or town.There is a drop among non- 8% 6%LGBT youth as well, but not 11% 15% 14% 17%nearly to the same scale. 23% 18% 19% 25% 29% 32% 32% 34% LGBT youth are about twice as Likelihood of Life Achievements likely as their peers to have been verbally harassed and called Overall If Stay in Same LGBT NON names outside of school (in the City or Town neighborhood or mall, etc.) as Total likely Non-LGBT LGBT Non-LGBT LGBT well as to have been physically Verbal Harassment Have a good job 95 92 72 60 assaulted outside of school. Go to college 93 91 82 74 Among LGBT youth, 18% report verbal Establish a life-long partnership 86 84 71 55 harassment while 10% of non-LGBT with someone you love youth report the same; 5% of LGBT Be happy 93 83 75 49 LGBT NON youth report physical assault com- pared with 3% of their peers. Get married to someone you love 89 77 75 45 Be an active part of your community 79 70 71 45 Physical Assault Raise children 84 68 78 49
HRC Youth Survey Key Findings 12 LGBT youth are far less likely than non-LGBT Only 18% of LGBT youth say they participate youth to attend religious services in a house of very often or sometimes in an LGBT group worship. outside of school. However, 52% of LGBT youth LGBT NON say they participate very often or sometimes GROUP ACTIVITY Among LGBT youth, 28% report attending in an online community that addresses issues church or religious services very often or some- facing LGBT youth. Attend religious services times while 58% of non-LGBT youth say the same. LGBT youth are less than half as likely as their peers to participate in a church/religious youth group, with 22% of LGBT youth saying they participate very often or sometimes while LGBT NON 47% of their peers say the same. ONLINE GROUP ACTIVITYParticipate in a religious youth group Nearly six in ten LGBT youth (57%) say that churches or places of worship in their com- “In school the people munity are not accepting of LGBT people; a I am friends with are third (35%) say their own church or place of completely OK with my worship is not accepting. sexuality, at church I haven’t brought it up.” More than 4 in 10 LGBT youth (45%) report that their state government is not accepting of LGBT people; about a third (34%) say their Less than a third (30%) of LGBT youth say they local government is not accepting. Not surpris- play sports very often or sometimes for their school or community league/club, while about ingly, many youth say they are not sure. half (49%) of non-LGBT youth say they do. Only 21% of LGBT youth say there is a place NON in their community that helps LGBT people; LGBT the same (21%) say there is a non-official place in their community where LGBT youth can go and be accepted.
HRC Youth Survey Key Findings 13When asked in an open-ended question what it is like to be LGBT in their com-munities, 60% of the LGBT youth described negative experiences and 42%described positive aspects. “The people inTop-four negative experiences Most frequently cited positive aspects my community and1 1 my family aren’t Intolerance in the Others are very community accepting 27% 20% really accepting of the LGBT2 2 Hard not to be It is good to be closeted open / myself 20% 13% community and it’s hard for me to lie3 Feeling out of place or lonely 18% about who I am.”4 Verbally harassed or abused 15% “I can’t come At the same time, nearly half (49%) of LGBT youth believe things are getting out to anyone I know at church much better or somewhat better in their communities. Another 41% say things are about the same, while 9% of LGBT youth report that things are getting much or somewhat worse in because they their communities. will immediately BETTER SAME WORSE see me as a bad person.”
HRC Youth Survey Key Findings 14HOME FAMILYa strong base of While a slight majority of survey respondents feel accepted by their family, far too many young people lack this critical support. We know that a strong base ofsupport at home is support at home is essential for the long term positive outcomes for LGBT youth.critically important More than half (56%) of LGBT youth About half (49%) of LGBT youth say they say they are out to their immediate have an adult in their family they could family; a quarter (25%) are out to LGBT NON turn to for help if they felt worried or their extended family. sad. Fully 79% of non-LGBT youth have Out to immediate family an adult in their family they could turn to for help. Out to extended family 6 in 10 LGBT youth say their family is Negative Less than a third of LGBT youth (32%) accepting of LGBT people, while a third Messages chose their family among a list of (33%) say their family is not. places where they most often hear positive messages about being LGBT; nearly half (46%) chose their family among a list of places where they most Positive Messages often hear negative messages about Families Families being LGBT. Accepting Not Accepting
HRC Youth Survey Key Findings 15 “My relationship with my parents has become much more tense ever since I came out.”
HRC Youth Survey Key Findings 16SCHOOL PEERSLGBT youth are much At the same time, most say most of their peers do not have a problem with their LGBT identity, nearly all are out to their close friends, and most are out to theirmore likely than their classmates. LGBT youth rate schools as one of the most accepting parts of their community outside of peers and 47% report having a Gay Straight Alliancepeers to experience (54% among LGBT high school students). They are as likely as their peers to participate in afterschool activities.verbal harassment, *Part of our survey outreach was conducted through GSAs and this number may be higher as a result.exclusion, and physicalattack at school.LGBT youth are more than two times LGBT youth are twice as likely as their LGBT youth are about twice as likely as Three-quarters of LGBT youth (75%)as likely as non-LGBT youth to say they peers to say they have been physically non-LGBT youth to say they have been say that most of their peers do not havehave been verbally harassed and called assaulted, kicked or shoved at school. excluded by their peers because they a problem with their identity as LGBT.names at school. Among LGBT youth, Among LGBT youth, 17% report they are different. Among LGBT youth, 48%half (51%) have been verbally harassed have been physically attacked often say they have been excluded oftenat school, compared to 25% among while 10% of their peers say the same. while 26% of their peers say the same.non-LGBT students.
HRC Youth Survey Key Findings 17 “I want to be able to go to school without being called a About a third (36%) of LGBT youth par- faggot or a dyke bitch. I don’t Participate ticipate often in an LGBT club in school, want to hide in the shadows Do Not such as a Gay Straight Alliance, while most (64%) do not. about my sexuality because Participate my safety is on the line.” sometimes often frequently LGBT % sometimes often frequently NON % 23 23 23 19 14 14 13 13 8 17 10 4 10 8 6 5 2 4 3 3 17 3 15 5 12 5 9 2 3 2 You have been verbally You have been verbally You have been excluded You have been harassed You have been physically harassed and called names harassed and called by your peers because online, sometimes called assaulted, punched, involving anti-gay slurs names at school you are different cyber-bullying kicked or shoved at such as “gay” or “fag”. school 9 in 10 LGBT youth (91%) say they are out to their close friends and two- thirds (64%) are out to their class- mates. About a third (38%) are out “A lot of kids at my school to their teachers. In general, nearly think it’s sick and nasty and Two-thirds out at school two-thirds (61%) say they are out at school. will give me looks when I hold hands with my friend, and call us fags and lesbos. LGBT youth are as likely as their peers I am proud of who I am and to participate in afterschool activities, I don’t intend on changing, such as drama, debate, band or aca- demic clubs. Among LGBT youth, 63% I just wish I wasn’t viewed say they participate often while 63% of differently.” their peers say the same.
HRC Youth Survey Key Findings 18CULTURE 92% 78% 9 in 10 LGBT youth (92%) say they hear Three-quarters (78%) of LGBT youth negative messages about being LGBT. say they hear positive messages.School, peers, and the Internet led the list of places where LGBT youth say they The Internet, their peers, and movies/TV/radio led the list of places where LGBTmost often hear negative messages about being LGBT: 74% chose school, 69% youth say they most often hear positive messages about being LGBT: 88% chosechose their peers, and 70% chose the Internet. Religious leaders (68%), elected the Internet, 69% chose their peers, and 59% chose movies/TV/radio. Schoolleaders (60%), family (46%), movies/TV/radio (42%) and community leaders (41%) and family (32%) followed with positive messages, and elected leaders(20%) followed as places where LGBT youth often hear negative messages. (16%), community leaders (8%), and religious leaders (4%) trailed far behind. School Internet Peers Religious Elected Family Movies/ Community Internet Peers Movies/ School Family Elected Community Religious Leaders Leaders TV/Radio Leaders TV/Radio Leaders Leaders Leaders
HRC Youth Survey Key Findings 19 LGBT youth are bombarded with negative messages about being LGBT. At the same time, most are also likely to hear positive messages. The Internet and their peers are of both major sources good and bad messages for LGBT youth.
HRC Youth Survey Key Findings 20 The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all. Its work has particular resonance for young people who continue to live in a world where societal prejudice continues to weigh on them and “that’s so gay” is a common schoolyard epithet.
HRC Youth Survey Key Findings 21 Through HRC’s visibility and outreach, HRC is often a first point- of-contact for many youth. HRC’s website offers blogs, videos, and other resources on federal state advocacy, hate crimes, health, marriage, parenting, religion faith, straight supporters, transgender issues, workplace, youth campus. Online and by phone, HRC often refers young people to national, regional, and local resources that meet their individual needs. www.hrc.org
HRC Youth Survey Key Findings 22HRc’S CURRENTYOUTH-RELATED WORK new initiative to explore faith-focused legislation that would ban bullying and ally financed adoption and foster care,COMMUNITY approaches to family acceptance of discrimination of LGBT youth in public and would ensure that LGBT youth in LGBT youth with faith institutions that settings outside of schools. This would care do not experience discrimination.The HRC Foundation works to improve primarily serve Latinos, African Ameri- include community agencies such asthe LGBT cultural competence of com- cans, and white evangelicals. Using parks and recreation facilities and clubs, The HRC Foundation’s All Children – Allmunity institutions, including youth- focus groups and engagement with reli- public libraries, foster care agencies, Families initiative works with public andserving organizations and healthcare gious groups, along with groundbreaking and any other youth-serving public private adoption and foster care agen-providers, and to engage all faith tradi- research from the Family Acceptance agency. There are currently few or no cies to improve their practices regardingtions in a dialogue on fairness. Project, the initiative hopes to identify legal protections for youth using those LGBT prospective parents. This would ways faith institutions can support fami- community resources. expand the number of caring, qualifiedHRC’s All Children – All Families initia- lies to raise happy, healthy youth. adults who are able to parent youth intive is expanding its training curriculum Each year, HRC blankets the country to foster care, including the disproportion-in response to requests from youth- HRC sponsored On the Road to Equal- support 150+ of LGBT pride and youth ate number of LGBT youth in care.serving agencies that want to improve ity – a 12-week bus tour that visited pride events, which frequently reachtheir competence in serving LGBT youth. 18 cities in 13 states and Washington, LGBT youth. HRC also collaborates with and show-This includes after-school programs, D.C. The bus tour brought an affirming cases the work of leaders in the field ofmental health agencies, and counseling message of LGBT dignity and equality to family acceptance, including the Familycenters, as well as foster care agencies communities around the country, with HOME FAMILY Acceptance Project and Gender Spec-that manage group homes for youth. a special emphasis on the Midwest trum, identifying new ways to encourageHRC seeks to increase the number of and South where there are limited legal To address the disproportionate number families to affirm and embrace LGBTsafe, supportive, and affirming agencies protections for LGBT people and living of LGBT youth who are homeless, HRC youth and prevent some of the chal-for LGBT youth in communities across openly and honestly can be difficult. advocates for federal action to prevent lenges identified here.the country. It is working in collabora- Exhibits featured information for LGBT homelessness, improve funding fortion with other organizations, including people about families, health, civil homeless youth programs, and expandthe Child Welfare League of America, to rights, community, faith, and the work- existing programs to make them more SCHOOL PEERScomplement the work they are doing. place. HRC also offered workshops and inclusive of LGBT youth. HRC supports educational seminars on religion and legislation, the Reconnecting Youth to In Washington, D.C. and in state capitals,Whether through an emergency or a faith, schools and bullying, workplace Prevent Homelessness Act, which would HRC fights for safe schools legislationroutine check-up, hospitals and health- and healthcare equality. require that the Secretary of Health and that protects LGBT young people fromcare providers serve all families and Human Services establish a demonstra- discrimination and bullying. Many statesindividuals. The HRC Healthcare Equality For a decade, HRC Foundation’s Corpo- tion project to develop programs that are have already adopted inclusive legisla-Index (HEI) engages health providers to rate Equality Index has sought to trans- focused on improving family relation- tion, but there remains work to be doneimplement non-discrimination policies form the workplace for LGBT employees ships and reducing homelessness for to implement those laws through train-and commit to be inclusive and affirming by promoting policies of fairness and LGBT youth. ing and increasing the cultural compe-of LGBT patients of all ages. This is espe- equality in the country’s leading corpo- tence of education personnel.cially important for young LGBT people, rations. Identifying best practices for HRC is also working with federal agen-who may not be out to their families but protection, recruitment, and retention of cies, including the Department of Health On the federal level, HRC advocates forneed to come out to their health provid- LGBT employees, the CEI has encour- and Human Services, to improve existing better protections for LGBT students,ers to get proper care. The HEI targets aged companies to improve and excel. programs that serve youth in foster care, with a current focus on non-discrimina-children’s hospitals to improve the In doing so, the CEI has raised the bar on including those aging out of the system tion and anti-bullying/harassment poli-landscape for all youth-serving medical how corporate America treats its LGBT and becoming independent, to ensure cies. Additionally, HRC seeks to improveproviders. HRC works toward creating employees, including LGBT youth, influ- they are inclusive of LGBT youth and that the way current laws are implementedculturally-competent care as a common encing an improvement in workplace vulnerable LGBT youth do not get placed for LGBT youth.practice in the field. climate even beyond the hundreds of into hostile foster homes. companies that participate in the CEI. The Student Non-Discrimination ActTo help combat LGBT youth home- HRC is building awareness and support would prohibit schools from discriminat-lessness and family rejection, HRC’s Through its efforts to improve state among federal legislators of the Every ing against LGBT students and provideReligion Faith Program is launching a laws and regulations, HRC is exploring Child Deserves a Family Act, a bill that students and parents federal protection would prohibit discrimination in feder- from harassment and discrimination.
HRC Youth Survey Key Findings 23The Safe Schools Improvement Act importance of LGBT openness. Comingwould promote school safety through CULTURE out has a powerful impact beyond thea comprehensive focus on bullying or individual. As the number of Americansharassment with specific inclusion of The HRC team works to de-stigmatize who say they know someone who issexual orientation and gender identity. LGBT issues and promote positive LGBT has increased, so has public sup-School districts in states that receive messages and images for LGBT people, port for fairness and equality. Throughspecific federal funds would be required including youth. HRC’s “Call It Out” National Coming Out Day, its blog, andto adopt codes of conduct specifically project brings attention to and combats other online resources, HRC promotesprohibiting bullying and harassment, homophobia and transphobia wherever stories with affirming messages thatincluding on the basis of race, color, it occurs and promotes respect and civil are especially important for LGBT youthnational origin, sex, disability, sexual discourse. Whether it is from a local who may otherwise be isolated in theirorientation, gender identity and religion. school board member, a religious orga- communities. nization, national ‘advocacy groups’ orHRC works with federal agencies, elected officials, anti-gay vitriol createsincluding the Justice Department and a toxic environment that can make LGBTthe Department of Education, to ensure people – particularly youth – think theythat—wherever possible given current are not worthy of the same legal rightslaws – federal regulations regarding and love that all Americans deserve.safety and nondiscrimination are applied There remain additional opportunities toto protect vulnerable LGBT youth. build greater acceptance particularly in the world of sports where HRC is part-In state capitals across the country, HRC nering with groups like the Ben Cohenis advancing anti-bullying and non-dis- Stand-Up Foundation and Athlete Ally.crimination legislation for K-12 schools.Some states have moved forward with Marriage equality can improve the livesimproved laws and more states are of LGBT young people in two key ways. Itconsidering efforts to limit the threat alters their perceptions of what is pos-of cyber bullying. Further, some states sible in the future, beyond current familythat have other positive LGBT-related life and school, and for those youth wholaws still do not address bullying and have same-sex parents themselves,discrimination in the schools. the ability for their family to receive full legal recognition can be an importantThe Welcoming Schools project of the milestone toward greater communityHRC Foundation is an LGBT-inclusive connection. In addition to its extensiveapproach to addressing family diversity, legislative and field work on marriagegender stereotyping, bullying and name- equality bills or ballot measures, HRCcalling in K-5 schools. With a focus on launched the online media campaignfamily diversity, it actively values families “Americans for Marriage Equality.” Thisheaded by LGBT parents. Its attention to video campaign features prominentgender stereotyping and name-calling Americans – including athletes, filmcan help create safer school cultures for and music celebrities, political and civilall students and creates a more balanced rights leaders, and business lead-and accurate understanding of LGBT ers – many of whom are admired andpeople as students enter the challenging respected by youth. HRC has created a resource bank of materials toyears of middle school. While the program help individual LGBT people, including youth firstwas designed for K-5 elementary schools, For more than a decade, HRC has coming to terms with their identity. Popularly-some K-8 schools have used Welcoming downloaded and requested materials include: sponsored and promoted National Resource Guide to Coming OutSchools and have adapted the program Coming Out Day, generating media Resource Guide to Coming Out for African Americansfor older grades. attention and public discussion on the Transgender Visibility: A Guide to Being You
the survey Q.1 (SAMPLE 1) Some of the 5) None of the above, I am out 1) Definitely fit in ____ 25 Churches and places of questions we will be asking in this of school 2) Somewhat fit in worship survey may seem quite personal. 6) Home schooled 3) Somewhat do not fit in ____ 26 Your own church or place of However, please be assured that 7) Other 4) Definitely do not fit in worship your responses will remain strictly 8) (Decline to answer) 5) (Decline to answer) ____ 27 Your school confidential. The responses from all Q.6 Because we want everyone Q.14 How often you participate in ____ 28 Your peers or people your age participants will be combined and represented in this survey, the next the following activities? ____ 29 Your family analysis will be conducted only on few questions are for statistical 1=Very often ____ 30 Your local city/town the information grouped together. purposes only. Do you identify your 2=Sometimes government If you have any questions about sexual orientation as: 3=Not very often ____ 31 Your state government our confidentiality policies, please 1) Heterosexual/straight 4=Never ____ 32 Your doctor feel free to contact our Survey Help 2) Gay 5= (Decline to answer) ____ 33 Local businesses 3) Lesbian (RANDOMIZE) Desk. Your participation and input is Q.34 (IF LGBTQ) In your own words, 4) Bisexual crucial to the success of this study. ____ 14 Attend church or religious please describe what it is like for you 6) Queer If you feel uncomfortable answering services in a house of worship. to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans- 7) I prefer to identify myself a sensitive question, please select ____ 15 Participate in a church or gender in your community. Please be as: (SPECIFY) “Decline to answer” and then move religious youth group. as specific as possible. 8) Decline to answer on to the next question. ____ 16 Play sports for your school 1) ?? Q.7 Do you consider yourself male, (SAMPLE 2) Some of the questions or community league or club Q.35 In the last year, how often does female, transgender or other gender we will be asking in this survey may ____ 17 Participate in afterschool the following happen to you? (e.g. genderqueer or androgynous)? seem quite personal. However, please activities, such as drama, debate, 1=Frequently (Punch 2-7 on LGBTQ OR punch 3-4 be assured that your responses will band or academic clubs 2=Often on gender are coded as “LGBTQ”; the remain strictly confidential. This ____ 18 Participate in a service or- 3=Sometimes rest are coded as non-LGBTQ) (TER- research is sponsored by the Human ganizations, such as the Boy Scouts, 4=Rarely MINATE NON-LGBTQ IN SAMPLE 1) Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s Girl Scouts, YMCA or Key Club 5=Never 1) Male leading civil rights groups for lesbian, ____ 19 Participate in lesbian, gay, 6= (Decline to answer) 2) Female gay, bisexual and transgender people bisexual or transgender organiza- (RANDOMIZE) 3) Transgender and is designed to allow HRC to bet- tions in your school, such as the Gay ____ 35 You are have been excluded 4) I prefer to identify my gen- ter understand issues facing young Straight Alliance. by your peers because you are dif- der as: (SPECIFY) lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgen- ____ 20 Work at a paying job ferent. 5) (Decline to answer) der people. The responses from all ____ 21 (LGBTQ) Participate in ____ 36 You have been verbally ha- Q.8 Most people are born either participants will be combined and lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender rassed and called names at school. male or female, but often feel or analysis will be conducted only on organizations outside of your school, ____ 37 You have been verbally behave in a way that is different the information grouped together. such as a gay youth center. harassed and called names outside from what society believes is male or If you have any questions about ____ 22 (LGBTQ) Participate in an of school, for example in your neigh- female behavior. On the scale below, our confidentiality policies, please online community that addresses the borhood, or at the mall. please indicate either how male or feel free to contact our Survey Help issues facing lesbian, gay, bisexual ____ 38 You have been physically as- female you feel. Desk. Your participation and input is and transgender youth saulted, punched, kicked or shoved 1) 0-10 crucial to the success of this study. at school. Q.9 (IF TRANSGENDER IN GENDER) Q.23 Would you say your community, If you feel uncomfortable answering ____ 39 You have been physically as- Would you say that you transi- that is, the place where you live, is a sensitive question, please select saulted, punched, kicked or shoved tioned...? generally accepting or unaccepting “Decline to answer” and then move outside of school, for example in your 1) From male to female of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans- on to the next question. 2) From female to male neighborhood, or at the mall. gender people? SAMPLE 1 Ages 13-17, generated 3) Neither ____ 40 You have been harassed on- 1) Very accepting from panel 4) Other (SPECIFY) line, sometimes called cyber-bullying 2) Somewhat accepting SAMPLE 2 Ages 13-17, LGBTQ 5) Decline to answer ____ 41 You have been verbally 3) Somewhat unaccepting screened, generated by link Q.10 Generally speaking, how would 4) Very unaccepting harassed and called names involving 1) Dial Region 1 you say things are these days in your 5) Don’t know anti-gay slurs such as “gay” or “fag” 2) Dial Region 2 life - would you say you are very 6) (Decline to answer) Q.42 (LGBTQ SAMPLE) (IF FRE- 3) Dial Region 3 happy, pretty happy, pretty unhappy Q.24 Do you believe things are QUENTLY OR OFTEN FOR ANY ITEMS 4 )Dial Region 4 or very unhappy? getting better or worse in your IN FREQ1) Do you believe these 5) Dial Region 5 1) Very happy community in terms of accepting things happen to you because of 6) Logoff 2) Pretty happy lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgen- your sexual orientation or gender Q.2 In what year were you born? 3) Somewhere in between der people? identity? Please enter as a four-digit number, 4) Pretty unhappy 1) Getting much better 1) Yes e.g., 1963. (For sample 1 and sample 5) Very unhappy 2) Getting somewhat better 2) No 2, accept only ages 13-17) 6) (Decline to answer) 3) About the same 4) (Decline to answer) 2) Enter number Q.11 (SPLIT A) What is the most 4) Getting somewhat worse Q.43 If you felt worried or sad, is Q.3 In what state or territory do you difficult problem facing you in your 5) Getting much worse there an adult in your family you currently reside? life these days? Please be as specific 6) (Decline to answer) could turn to for help? (DROP DOWN LIST OF STATES) as possible. Q.25 When it comes to accepting 1) Yes 1) Enter Response 1) ?? lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgen- 2) No Q.4 What is your zip code? Please Q.12 (SPLIT B) In your own words, der people, how would you rate the 3) Don’t know enter only the first five digits. if you could change one thing about following people or institutions in 4) (Decline to answer) 4) Enter Zip your life right now what would it be, your community? Q.44 If you felt worried or sad, is Q.5 (If ages 13-17) Do you currently and why? Please be as specific as 1=Very accepting there an adult in your community or attend? possible. 2=Somewhat accepting school, but outside of your family, 2) Middle school or junior 1) ?? 3=Not very accepting you could turn to for help? high school Q.13 Thinking in terms of your com- 4=Not at all accepting 1) Yes 3) High school munity, the place where you live, do 5=Don’t know/does not apply 2) No 4) University, college or com- you feel that you? 6= (Decline to answer) 3) Don’t know munity college (RANDOMIZE) 4) (Decline to answer)