TeenLine has a great video called LGBTQ: Understanding Sexual Orientation and Gender Identities.
It is an educational video, which focuses on the lives of several LGBTQ teens in Los Angeles. The video discuses their coming out process, the support (or lack of support) they received, and how the learned to embrace their identities.
As we know some LGBTQ youth are more likely than their heterosexual peers to experience difficulties in their lives and school environments, such as violence.
Negative attitudes toward lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people put these youth at increased risk for experiences with violence, compared with other students. Violence can include behaviours such as bullying, teasing, harassment, physical assault, and suicide-related behaviours.
LGBTQ youth are also at increased risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviours, suicide attempts, and suicide. A nationally representative study of adolescents in grades 7–12 found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth were more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide as their heterosexual peers.3 More studies are needed to better understand the risks for suicide among transgender youth. However, one study with 55 transgender youth found that about 25% reported suicide attempts.
For youth to thrive in their schools and communities, they need to feel socially, emotionally, and physically safe and supported. A positive school climate has been associated with decreased depression, suicidal feelings, substance use, and unexcused school absences among LGBQ students.
Schools can implement clear policies, procedures, and activities designed to promote a healthy environment for all youth. For example, research has shown that in schools with LGB support groups (such as gay-straight alliances), LGB students were less likely to experience threats of violence, miss school because they felt unsafe, or attempt suicide than those students in schools without LGB support groups. A recent study found that LGB students had fewer suicidal thoughts and attempts when schools had gay-straight alliances and policies prohibiting expression of homophobia in place for 3 or more years.
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