Sexual minority youth are young men and women who identify as gay, homosexual, and bisexual. The explanation also includes those who don’t identify as one of these categories but that experience same-sex sexual fascination. Gender minority youth are individuals who identify as a gender aside from the one they were assigned . They might or might not also identify as sexual minorities.
However, the two groups tend to be clumped together by investigators. The category of childhood tends to expand through the end of high school (~17 to 18 years old).
Sexual and gender minority youth come in all communities. They also are found in all racial and cultural groups. In fact, sex and sexual minority youth that are also racial minorities often experience much greater problems. This can be seen in their own health outcomes in addition to within their experiences of stigma and prejudice. Many young people speak about their identities and experiences as intersectional. They realize that many, varied facets of lifestyle affect their day to day experiences. It’s not just race, class, or sexual orientation. It is all three, and perhaps some other factors alongside.
Intersectionality is defined as”The interconnected nature of social categorizations like race, class, and gender as they apply to a specified individual or group, considered generating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.” – The Oxford Dictionaries
Approximately once every year or two, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does a national survey of young people in grades 9 to 12. This survey is known as the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, or YRBS. It’s among the most effective ways to acquire a snapshot of young people’s wellbeing in the U.S.. While it’s not ideal, it looks at a much larger and more varied sample than most studies can manage.
Additionally, it is run on a normal basis, and lots of questions remain consistent over time. This provides researchers a special opportunity to check at trends. Those trends include health risks among gender and sexual minority youth.
Health Disparities Among LGBTQ Youth
National research have identified a number of health issues that disproportionately affect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth and adults. These include health issues which are clearly associated with minority stigma.
For example, suicide risk, substance use, and depression are considerably greater in these population. However, they also include other health issues like obesity and asthma. These conditions may be linked to minority stigma, but the connection isn’t quite so black and white. Sexual and gender minority youth also experience more violence, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, and childbirth compared to their heterosexual and cisgender peers.
The long-term effects of these health disparities may be made worse by problem accessing affirming health care. Healthcare discrimination is a huge issue for gender and sexual minorities. That’s particularly true for transgender people of color.
Heath Risk Factors for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth
The 2016 launch of this YRBS put a spotlight on health risk factors for sexual minority youth.
The analysis found that nationwide, 1.7 percent of 9th to 12th graders had had sexual contact with only the exact same gender, 48 percent with only the opposite sex, and 4.6 percent with both genders. Those classes were not necessarily aligned with sexual identity. Individuals identified as gay or lesbian when they’d only had sexual intercourse with the opposite gender and vice versa. Overall, 2% of youth identified as homosexual or bisexual, 6 percent as bisexual, and 3.2 were unsure of their sexual identity. To put it differently, more than one in 10 high school students has a sexual identity that is not heterosexual.
The YRBS is specially interested in health risk behaviors.
They seem at danger across six types of behaviour:
- People who lead to unintentional injuries and violence
- Tobacco use
- Alcohol and other drug use
- Sexual behaviours associated with STDs and unintended pregnancy
- Unhealthy eating
- Physical inactivity
In four of those categories, the vast majority of risk behaviors occurred more frequently in sexual minority youth. The only areas where sexual minority youth weren’t consistently at increased risk were bodily activity, food choices, and birth control use.
A few of the regions where sexual minority youth had higher risk could surprise you. As an Example, young Men and Women who recognized sexual minorities or who had same sex sexual partners were more likely to:
- Skip wearing a seatbelt when somebody else was driving
- Ride in a vehicle where the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drive when drinking
- Carry a weapon on school property (though they were less likely to carry a gun)
- Be threatened or injured with a weapon while on school land
- Avoid school due to safety concerns
- Experience e-bullying or bullying at school
- Try smoking smokes
- Smoke or drink alcohol before they turned 13
- Strive marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamine or alcoholism at least once
- Misuse prescription drugs
- Have sexual intercourse for the first time before Age 13
- Drink alcohol or use drugs before intercourse
- Be physically forced to have unwanted sex
- Experience physical or sexual relationship violence
Quite simply they experience violence at the hands of others more frequently. They may also be in more situations where they are in danger. Therefore, it’s perhaps unsurprising that sexual minority pupils were twice as likely to feel depressed or hopeless or seriously consider suicide. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual pupils were nearly five times more likely to attempt suicide compared to their heterosexual peers, and uncertain pupils were twice as likely. Such increased risk was found again and again, across research.
A Word From Verywell
In most areas of the U.S., the environment for sexual and gender minority youth has improved over time. However, there’s still a very long way to go. Additionally, it is important to know that these young men and women are at risk, in large part, due to the activities of people around them. Fortunately, there are things that everyone can do to help. These vary from encouraging respect for those who have varied identities to creating visible, secure spaces for sex and sexual minority youth to collect.
It’s also important to remember that sexual and gender minority youth and adults are everywhere. That’s why kindness isn’t a”sometime” thing. Creating healthy, accepting surroundings is something we should strive for each day and in every single way. This means not just eliminating overt aggression to these as well as other minority groups but enhancing the content of sex and health education to add material that’s both fact-based and inclusive of everyone.
It’s not only the people at large that needs extra education. Medical students and other suppliers also receive insufficient information regarding sexual health and sexual orientation. Luckily, there’s an ongoing movement to make that occur in medical schools and other professional training programs. Unfortunately, there is still a very long way to go.