“It Gets Better?” I Sure Hope So, Because Right Now It’s Pretty Bad

Research came out this week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicating that GLBTQ young people are shockingly underserved, and facing health risks on every front.

Across the nine sites that assessed sexual identity, the prevalence among gay or lesbian students was higher than the prevalence among heterosexual students for a median of 63.8% of all the risk behaviors measured, and the prevalence among bisexual students was higher than the prevalence among heterosexual students for a median of 76.0% of all the risk behaviors measured.

Breaking it down to just a few of the numbers, that means gay and lesbian youth are more likely to:

  • Have been injured in a physical fight (5 times more likely)
  • Have experienced dating violence (3 times more likely)
  • Have been raped (3 times more likely)
  • Have been threatened or injured with a weapon at school (3 times more likely)
  • Have missed school because they feared for their safety (4 times more likely)
  • Have considered suicide (3 times more likely)
  • Have attempted suicide (4 times more likely)
  • Have used heavy drugs (5-7 times more likely)
  • Have injected drugs (10 times more likely)
  • Had sex before age 13 (4 times more likely)
  • Have had sex without a condom (just under twice as likely)

Our youth are also less likely to eat their vegetables and more likely to smoke.  More likely to take diet pills.  Less likely to wear their seatbelts.

In essence, the report says: we are treating an entire generation of GLBTQ young people as if they don’t matter. Sex education programs ignore these youth, or at best, at worst, vilify them.  They’re told their very existence is so vile that teachers can’t talk about them. Presidential candidates build support by saying our culture must be protected from them. Meanwhile, only thirteen states even asked about sexual identity or sexual contact on the Youth Risk Behavior survey. The others consider the topic too challenging, too….risky.

These youth are assaulted at school and molested at home. They fear school. They have unprotected sex and inject drugs.  They are homeless.  They try to kill themselves (they succeed).

You know the saying: Measure a society by how it treats its most vulnerable? Our society is failing.

It’s more than marriage equality, ending bullying, ending hate speech. Those are all worthy goals.  Those are basic rights denied to GLBTQ people.  But what this report makes clear is that on a fundamental level our GLBTQ youth are being devalued.  We do not care enough to protect them from violence, suffering, and danger.  And knowing they are devalued, they devalue themselves and their health and lives.

Undoubtedly conservatives will take this information and use it to point out to GLBTQ youth (again) that they’re the problem – they’re flawed, they need fixing.  But you know and I know that it’s not true.  Adults in power, and a hateful culture, are the ones at fault here, and also the only ones who can fix it.

Will we find the will, to change our schools, communities, homes, churches, leaders?

Or will we continue to allow malevolent neglect to rule these young people’s lives?

This post first appeared on the blog of RH Reality Check.

By swanksalot
by Emily Bridges at RH Reality Check.


Akin Adelakun
Akin Adelakun6 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Elizabeth M.
Elizabeth M6 years ago

So many people are just hypocrites, and have very closed minds.
Remember...treat others as you wish to be treated.
We know not the reason or cause of homosexuality.

Carmen n.
Carmen n6 years ago

@HayleyZ: Oh, but don't you know, god put them here just so we could exercise our 'hating' muscles, just like he put dinosaur bones underground just so we could exercise our 'doubting' muscles!!!??

Hayley Zacheis
Hayley Z6 years ago

I believe that these effects are a direct result of the bullying and abuse LGBTQs have to put up with - and now that people are starting to see these statistics, my main question is how can anybody think that being so hateful towards these poor people is okay?

Olga Leonenko
Olga Leonenko6 years ago

@Sarah Helper.
Hi Sarah, where did you get data "about the increasing number of homosexuals in the western world.. "? And what exact percentage you are talking about?
I suspect it is your personal 'feeling', and not a reality. It is just people talk about that more, and that in Western Warld it's a bit easier to 'get out of closet'.
Another thought - I am hearing it a lot lately that it's a popular trend, cool thing to do. Why after reading this article with 4 times higher rate of suicide attempt and 3x more violence again them etc etc anybody would think it is cool to pretend to be gay?

Armand B.
Past Member 6 years ago


Olga Leonenko
Olga Leonenko6 years ago

It makes me sick how mean or evil humans can be! It hurts to read the list!

Lin Moy
Lin M6 years ago

Why don't we just stay out of their life and let them live in peace. Seems some one is always looking for a cause to be mad and fight about. Let people be who they are no matter how you feel about it. If you don't like them just leave them alone.

Betti S.
Betti S6 years ago

Sarah Helper - Indiana University, home of Kinsey, recently did a large study of sexual behavior, the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior:


This was a well-done study of sexual behavior in the US. They found that of the female adolescents, 0.2% identified as Lesbian, and 8.4% bisexual, and of the male, 1.8% identified as gay, and 1.5% as bisexual. Of the adult females, 0.9% identified as Lesbian, and 3.6% as bisexual, and of the adult males, 4.2% identified as gay, 2.6% as bisexual. However, looking at lifetime behavior, of the entire sample, up to 17% of the whole female sample reported having sexual contact with another female and up to 15% of the whole male sample reported having sexual contact with another male (but obviously most were not identifying as either bi or gay/Lesbian).

I believe that the actual percentages are higher. Even when promised confidentiality, there are still parts of the country where it is so dangerous to be queer that I think people, especially men, simply will still not admit it to anyone.

Look up "Homosexual Behavior in Animals" in Wikipedia. Every single animal species which has been studied is bisexual. If you study human history, all human cultures that did not have a repressive religion were bisexual. In many cultures, such as the Roman, the entire population seems to have been bisexual. Why should ours be any different?

Betti S.
Betti S6 years ago

Cherie C. - Some people are born bisexual. This means they have the capability of being attracted to more than one gender. So let's say a woman is in a long-term relationship with another woman. Everyone ASSUMES she is Lesbian, but she is not, she is bisexual. Then they break up, and her next long-term relationship is with a man. People call her a "hasbian" and say she has "gone straight," but her sexual orientation has not changed at all - she is still bisexual. This is where all the so-called successes of the "pray-away-the-gay" camps come from - they just get truly gay people to become celibate and bisexual people to only act on their opposite sex attractions. Then they claim a "cure." But there is no evidence of them even once turning a truly gay person, who wasn't bisexual, over to straight. Indeed, therapists who do this kind of therapy are being sued for malpractice in other countries because it does not work.