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New HRC Study Compares Straight, LGBT Teens

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The nation’s largest LGBT rights group has released what it calls a “groundbreaking study” that highlights the differences between LGBT youth and their straight peers.

The Human Rights Campaign says its report–”Growing Up LGBT in America”–is the largest known study of LGBT teens. The organization surveyed more than 10-thousand students ages 13 to 17.

HRC spokesman Michael Cole-Schwartz tells OutQ News that the disparity between the two youth groups is “striking” and should serve as a call-to-action for those seeking to change the common culture.

COLE-SCHWARTZ: Clearly we’re making a lot of progress on the policy front in this country–we see the president coming out for marriage equality. All of these things are sending positive messages to LGBT young people. But at the same time, the experience of their daily lives is that it remains difficult.

Among its key findings, HRC found that more than half of LGBT student respondents said they were verbally harassed, oftentimes with anti-gay slurs. About 50 percent also said they did NOT “fit in” in their communities–that’s compared to just 16 percent of straight teens.

Two-thirds of heterosexual youth also described themselves as happy, with only a third of their LGBT counterparts saying they felt the same way.

The two groups also differed on what they saw as the most important problems they face. Straight students said they were primarily worried about academics and the job market. LGBT youth, on the other hand, said they feared non-accepting families; anti-gay bullying at schools; and living openly as an LGBT individual.

In fact, while roughly 50 percent of LGBT participants said things were getting better in their communities, 60 percent reported negative experiences in their hometowns.

The study’s release coincides with the start of incoming president Chad Griffin’s tenure leading HRC.

Written by Xorje Olivares

June 8, 2012 at 8:45 AM

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