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For youth to thrive in their schools and communities, they need to feel socially, emotionally, and physically safe and supported.Most lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ)* youth are happy and thrive during their adolescent years.Going to a school that creates a safe and supportive learning environment for all students and having caring and accepting parents are especially important.This helps all youth achieve good grades and maintain good mental and physical health.However, some LGBTQ youth are more likely than their heterosexual peers to experience difficulties in their lives and school environments, such as violence.
* Variations of this acronym are used throughout the Web page to reflect relevant populations.
Many studies consider lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth but do not include transgender and questioning youth.
Violence can include behaviors such as bullying, teasing, harassment, physical assault, and suicide-related behaviors.
According to data from Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (YRBS) conducted during 2001‒2009 in seven states and six large urban school districts, the percentage of LGB students (across the sites) who were threatened or injured with a weapon on school property in the prior year ranged from 12% to 28%.
Another survey of more than 7,000 seventh- and eighth-grade students from a large Midwestern county examined the effects of school [social] climate and homophobic bullying on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning (LGBQ) youth and found that Exposure to violence can have negative effects on the education and health of any young person.
However, for LGBT youth, a national study of middle and high school students shows that LGBT students (61.1%) were more likely than their non-LGBT peers to feel unsafe or uncomfortable as a result of their sexual orientation.