Giant Survey Finds Unhappiness Pervasive Among Gay Youth

By Lucas Grindley

Originally published on Advocate.com June 07 2012 12:59 PM ET

An extensive survey of 10,000 kids finds that LGBT youth are much less happy than their straight classmates.

Some 67% of straight kids described themselves as happy, but only 37% of LGBT kids could say the same, found the report from the Human Rights Campaign. They do seem to believe that "It Gets Better," as the viral video campaign targeting them has promised. The survey found that 83% of LGBT youth believe they will one day be happy.

For many, the road to happiness leads out of town. The survey found that only 49% said they could be happy wherever they live now. And that could have a lot to do with how they describe their current circumstances.

Although 56% said they are out to their families, a third of respondents said their family is not accepting of them. More than half of LGBT youth said they'd been verbally harassed, and 47% said they don't "fit in." By comparison, just 25% of straight student said they'd been called names and 16% of straight youth said they didn't fit in.

When the HRC asked LGBT youth to name the top concerns in their lives right now, the list was vastly different from straight youth — who named things you might expect like grades and college worries. The number one concern for LGBT youth was non-accepting families. Number two was school bullying, and number three was a fear of being out.

HRC surveyed more than 10,000 LGBT-identified youth ages 13-17, and the group believes it's the largest survey of its kind. The report is incoming HRC President Chad Griffin's first move in his new job after leaving the American Foundation for Equal Rights.

“No one would say that growing up LGBT is easy, but this survey is a stark wake-up call to the daily toll that discrimination takes on vulnerable young people,” Griffin said in a statement. “We have a responsibility to change that, because we know all too well that there are real life consequences to inaction.”

Read the complete report here.