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

Among adolescents ages 18-19, 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 June 30, 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 June 30, 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: August 11, 2016