Reliable estimates indicate that between 4 and 10% of the population is gay, which means in a public school system of more than one million, like New York City’s, there are at least 40,000 to 100,000 gay students.
Schools should be a young person’s primary center for learning, growing, and building a foundation for success in the world. Growing up and getting through high school can be challenging for any student, but LGBT youth too often face additional obstacles of harassment, abuse, and violence. The statistics are astounding:
- LGBT students at schools with comprehensive policies on bullying and harrassment are much more likely to report harassment to school authorities who, in turn, were more likely to respond effectively.
- LGBT students are twice as likely to say that they were not planning on completing high school or going on to college.
- Gay teens are 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide and 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression compared with peers from families that reported no or low levels of family rejection.
- LGBT youth who reported higher levels of family rejection during adolescence are three times more likely to use illegal drugs.
Family & Shelter
- Half of gay males experience a negative parental reaction when they come out and in 26% of those cases the youth was thrown out of the home.
- Studies indicate that between 25% and 50% of homeless youth are LGBT and on the streets because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- LGBT youth are overrepresented in foster care, juvenile detention, and among homeless youth.
Harassment & Violence
- Nearly a fifth of students are physically assaulted because of their sexual orientation and over a tenth because of their gender expression.
- About two-thirds of LGBT students reported having ever been sexually harassed (e.g., sexual remarks made, being touched inappropriately) in school in the past year.
- The average GPA for students who were frequently physically harassed because of their sexual orientation was half a grade lower than that of other students.