Adapted from and Healthy Children: Gay and Lesbian Teens, by the American Academy of Pediatrics

Among adolescents ages 18 to 19, just under eight percent of females and just under three percent of males identify as homosexual or bisexual.[1]  Many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) adolescents are happy and thrive during their teenage years. However, as a group they are more likely than their heterosexual peers to experience difficulties: LGBT adolescents are at increased risk for suicide attempts, being homeless, alcohol use, and risky sex.[2],[3] Parental response to their LGBT adolescent can have a tremendous impact on the child’s current and future mental and physical health. Supportive reactions can help adolescents cope and thrive.[3],[4],[5],[6] 

[1]National Center for Health Statistics. Chandra, A., Mosher, W. D., Copen, C., & Sionean, C. (2011). Sexual behavior, sexual attraction, and sexual identity in the United States: Data from the 2006–2008 National Survey of Family Growth: (Table 12 and Table 13). National Center for Health Statistics. National Health Statistics Reports, 36. Retrieved January 21, 2016, from
[2]Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). Sexual identity, sex of sexual contacts, and health-risk behaviors among students in grades 9–12 — Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, selected sites, United States, 2001–2009. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 60(SS07). Retrieved January 21, 2016, from
[3] Coker, T.R., Austin, S.B., & Schuster, M.A. (2010). The health and health care of lesbian, gay, and bisexual adolescents. Annual Review of Public Health, 31, 457–477.
[4] Espelage, D.L., Aragon, S.R., & Birkett, M. (2008). Homophobic teasing, psychological outcomes, and sexual orientation among high school students: What influence do parents and schools have? School Psychology Review, 37, 202–216.
[5] Ryan, C., Huebner, D., Diaz, R.M., & Sanchez, J. (2009). Family rejection as a predictor of negative health outcomes in white and Latino lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adults. Pediatrics, 123, 346–352.
[6] Bouris, A., Guilamo-Ramos, V., Pickard, A., Shiu, C., Loosier, P.S., Dittus, P., Gloppen, K., & Waldmiller, J.M. (2010). A systematic review of parental influences on the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth: Time for a new public health research and practice agenda. Journal of Primary Prevention, 31, 273–309.
Last updated: April 11, 2016