Why Our Work Is Important
Did you know that LGBTQ+ teens are much more likely to experience teen dating violence than their heterosexual peers. In fact, according to the Urban Institute:
43% of LGBT youth and 29% of heterosexual youth reported being victims of physical dating violence.
59% of LGBT youth and 46% of heterosexual youth reported emotional abuse from a dating partner.
37% of LGBT youth and 26% of heterosexual youth reported cyber/phone abuse and harassment.
23% of LGBT and 12% of heterosexual youth have reported sexual coercion.
Particularly frighting is the violence level among transgender youth. Transgender youth reported the highest levels of violence, harassment, and sexual coercion. Using the categories above, transgender teens reported:
89% had experienced physical dating violence.
61% had been sexually coerced.
59% had been emotionally abused.
56% had suffered cyber and phone abuse and harassment.
One of the reasons why teen dating violence is so hard to address for LGBTQ+ teens is that reporting the abuse requires them to “out” themselves. If teens are living in a household or community that is not tolerant of LGBTQ+ individuals, their sexual orientation and/or gender identity might prevent access to protection and resources.
According to a report by National Judicial Education Program, gay teens are more than twice as likely than their straight, peers to attempt suicide, and teens who experience victimization are at higher risk of suicide. Gay teens report higher rates of alcohol abuse and depression, which are also suicide risk factors. And transgender youth have even higher rates of suicide or suicidal ideation. This elevated risk of depression and suicidal thoughts in LGBTQ+ youth can be attributed to the hardships they face due to societal stigma, such as invalidation or rejection of their identities; bullying; inadequate mental health resources; or difficulties transitioning for transgender youth.
For their sake, we need to make it clear that hate has no home here in Glenview. We need to stand up together, crowd out bigotry and intolerance, and make it safer for our teens to come out. We--community members, community leaders, and our institutions--need to show, in our words and our deeds, that Glenview is an inclusive and welcoming community in which to live, work, study, and do business.
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