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Adapted from LGBT Youth and Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Teens: Facts for Teens and their Parents

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 bullying, suicide attempts, homelessness, alcohol use, and risky sex.2,3 The way parents respond to their LGBT adolescents can have a tremendous impact on their children's current and future mental and physical health. Supportive reactions can help adolescents cope and thrive.3-6 The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s page on LGBT youth provides resources for parents and schools to help reduce teen health risk behaviors.


1 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 (National Health Statistics Reports No. 36). Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr036.pdf
2 Kann, L., Olsen, E., McManus, T., Kinchen, S., Chyen, S., Harris, W., & Wechsler, H. (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), 1-133. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6007a1.htm
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. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.publhealth.012809.103636
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. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2007-3524
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. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10935-010-0229-1
Content created by Office of Adolescent Health
Content last reviewed on May 7, 2019