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.

Study Finds 71 Percent of LGBTQ+ Youth Say Restrictive State Laws Negatively Impact Their Mental Health

(Photo: Olivier Le Moal, Adobe Stock)

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.

Read the report.

About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray
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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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