The death of the transgender teen, Leelah Alcorn, came as a shock. She decided to end her own short life after her parents rejected her wishes to identify as female and forced her into religious-based counseling. She explained in the note she left that she felt hopeless and didn’t see any other option. She is only one terribly sad example of the struggles that LGBT youth has to endure.
For the most part LGBT kids are happy and balanced until their school years begin. Without a supportive, caring and loving environment in the educational institute they attend, LGBT youth suffer devastating consequences.
According to the CDC, LGBT youth are more likely to face difficulties in their lives and in their schools than heterosexual youth.
Negative attitudes toward LGBT kids are one of the biggest problems these youths endure. The negative attitudes include verbal violence, teasing, harassment, bullying, etc.
According to a study by Youth Risk Behavior, which includes data compiled from 2001-2009 from seven states and six urban school districts, the percentage of threatened or injured LGBT kids by/with a weapon on school property rose from 12% to 28% in those years.
Analyzing these statistics, it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that suicidal thoughts and behaviors among LGBT teens are double than those among heterosexual teens.
Transgender youth are even at higher risk.
The above mentioned risk factors lead to more and more problems. As an LGBT child experiences violence or bullying in school and feels unsafe as a result, that child is unable to concentrate on studying and will often miss more school than their cis counterparts. According to CDC: “LGBT students (61.1%) are more likely than their non-LGBT peers to feel unsafe or uncomfortable as a result of their sexual orientation”. As a result “the percentage of gay, lesbian, and bisexual students who did not go to school at least one day during the 30 days before, because of safety concerns ranged from 11% to 30% of gay and lesbian students and 12% to 25% of bisexual students.”
These risk factors indicate that LGBT youth are far more likely to suffer adult depression and other emotional disorders later in life.
As a society, it is our responsibility to create an environment where everyone is equally free to receive an education and to have a happy, healthy childhood. It is our responsibility to teach children accountability for their actions and to teach them to accept and celebrate diversity.
Article reposted with permission from LGBT News Feed