Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (GLBTQ) youth face tremendous difficulties growing up in a society where heterosexuality is often presented as the only acceptable orientation, and homosexuality is regarded as deviant. Research suggests that homophobia and heterosexism greatly contribute to higher rates of suicide, violence victimization, risk behavior for HIV infection, and substance abuse among GLBTQ youth as compared to their heterosexual peers. In recent years, however, a number of promising programs have been established to help GLBTQ youth gain the skills and support they need to develop into healthy adults in a society that largely rejects them.
If you are conducting research on LGBT youth health and well-being, be sure to check out Advocates' LGBT Youth Research Guide for the most recent news, scholarly research, and publications from a variety of sources.
Redressing Sexual and Reproductive Health Disparities Among Young People
As members of more than one minority group, GLBTQ youth of color face special challenges in a society which often presents heterosexuality as the only acceptable orientation and in which nonwhites have disproportionately higher rates of negative sexual outcomes. Economic and cultural disparities, as well as sexual risk taking and other risk-taking behavior, make these youth vulnerable to HIV, pregnancy, and sexual violence. Holistic, culturally competent health care is essential to their well being.
Youth in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
Around the world many countries have laws against sexual activity between people of the same sex; and in many of those without laws, GLBTQ people face stigma and discrimination. In many low- and middle-income countries, GLBTQ youth often have difficulty finding accurate information and safe spaces where they can find support, ask questions, and receive sexual health information without being harassed or attacked by peers or by adults, such as teachers or law enforcement officers.