In previous blogs I’ve noted the extra challengeslesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) teens face because of prejudice, disapproval, and bullying. These negative experiences can be tough, leading many LGB teens to have emotional issues or turn to drugs and alcohol, risky sexual behaviors, or even suicide.
LGB youth are also now vulnerable to another high-risk situation—homelessness. One in 4 lesbian or gay teens and 15 percent of bisexual teens are homeless, according to an online publication of the American Journal of Public Health, a Massachusetts study. To put this in perspective, about only 3 percent of heterosexual teens are homeless. The study looked at data from 6,317 students in grades 9-12. An interesting finding was that LGB youth were more likely to be homeless and unaccompanied by parents/guardians. This suggests that these kids were either kicked out of their homes or ran away—possibly due to unacceptance at home or school.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: be kind to one another. It’s bad enough having the angst of “normal” teenager years, without all of the added pressures and struggles LGB youth may experience on top of the angst of “normal” teenage years.
Samantha Burns, a Boston area mental health counselor, is a LGBT ally.
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