Study Finds 71 Percent of LGBTQ+ Youth Say Restrictive State Laws Negatively Impact Their Mental Health
Additionally, many LGBTQ+ youth say the new policies or debates have resulted in them being bullied, harassed, and/or assaulted.
The Trevor Project has found that an overwhelming majority of LGBTQ+ youth have been negatively impacted by recent debates and laws around anti-LGBTQ+ policies. Many of these young people have also experienced verbal or physical victimization as a result.
Nearly nine in ten (86%) transgender and nonbinary youth say recent debates about state laws restricting the rights of transgender people have negatively impacted their mental health, with 55% saying it has impacted their mental health “very negatively,” according to the report released last week by the Trevor Project. Additionally, 71% of LGBTQ+ youth say state laws restricting the rights of LGBTQ young people have negatively impacted their mental health.
Three quarters of LGBTQ+ youth say that threats of violence against LGBTQ+ spaces, such as community centers, pride events, drag shows, or hospitals/clinics that serve transgender people, often give them stress or anxiety… 48% say it gives them stress “very often.”
The anti-LGBTQ+ laws and debates last year have also led to many LGBTQ+ youth experiencing the following:
- Cyberbullying or online harassment: 45%
- Stopped speaking to a family member or relative: 42%
- Didn’t feel safe going to a doctor or hospital when they were sick or injured: 29%
- A friend stopped speaking to them: 29%
- Bullying at school: 24%
- Their school removed Pride flags or other LGBTQ-friendly symbols: 15%
- Physical assault: 10%
“Right now, we are witnessing the highest number on record of anti-LGBTQ bills introduced this early in any legislative session. We must consider the negative toll of these ugly public debates on youth mental health and well-being,” said Kasey Suffredini, vice president of advocacy and government affairs for the Trevor Project. “LGBTQ young people are watching, and internalizing the anti-LGBTQ messages they see in the media and from their elected officials. And so are those that would do our community harm.”
The poll, which was conducted October 23 – November 2, 2022, surveyed 716 LGBTQ+ youth ages 13-24.
Schools have become battlegrounds for debates on student identities and pronouns, censoring LGBTQ-inclusive curriculums, and banning books. According to the new study:
- New policies that require schools to tell a student’s parent or guardian if they request to use a different name/pronoun, or if they identify as LGBTQ+at school make 67% of transgender and nonbinary youth feel angry, 54% feel stressed, 51% feel scared, 46% feel nervous, and 43% feel sad.
- 58% of LGBTQ youth, including 71% of transgender and nonbinary youth, feel angry about new policies that ban teachers from discussing LGBTQ+ topics in the classroom. Among trans youth, 59% feel sad and 41% feel stressed.
- 66% of LGBTQ+ youth, including 80% of transgender and nonbinary youth, feel angry about policies that willban books in school libraries that discuss LGBTQ topics. Nearly half of LGBTQ youth, including 54% of trans youth, also felt sad about these book bans.
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