2018 LGBTQ Youth Report

In 2012, the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) groundbreaking research, Growing up LGBT in America, reported on the experiences of over 10,000 LGBTQ-identified youth aged 13-17 and painted a stark picture of the difficulties they faced.

Since 2012, LGBTQ Americans have seen tremendous strides toward equality and inclusion in the workplace, in health care, in public opinion and under the law. Marriage equality is now the law of the land, transgender candidates are being elected to public office, and mainstream television and movies routinely feature LGBTQ characters portrayed in a positive light. These significant cultural changes, milestones and achievements provide hope to many LGBTQ people.

And yet, the results of HRC’s 2017 Youth Survey reveal persistent, serious challenges for LGBTQ youth. In many cases, the cards remain stacked against LGBTQ-identified youth in terms of acceptance and support from their families, their mental health and safety in schools. For LGBTQ youth of color these challenges are compounded by racism and race-related stressors. Transgender and gender-expansive youth also face unique challenges. In school, a lack of inclusive policies and procedures creates obstacles to their safety and well-being.

Equally compelling, however, are the stories of empowerment, resilience, activism and advocacy from the survey respondents. Across the country, LGBTQ youth are taking a stand and advocating for inclusivity and equality in their homes, schools and communities.

Parents, school administrators, teachers, counselors and other youthserving professionals can stand with LGBTQ youth by following their lead and implementing the actionable guidelines in this report to create safe, affirming and welcoming spaces for LGBTQ youth.

For this report, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation partnered with researchers at the University of Connecticut to deploy a comprehensive survey capturing the experiences of LGBTQ youth in their family settings, schools, social circles and communities. Over 12,000 youth aged 13-17 participated in the survey, with representation from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Population of focus: LGBTQ youth

Links to resource:

  • Read the full 2018 LGBTQ youth report (pdf)
  • Read the original Growing up LGBT in America report from 2012 (pdf)
  • Learn more about Growing Up LGBT in America
  • Read the follow-up report, Supporting and Caring for our Latino LGBT Youth (pdf) which explores the experiences of nearly 2,000 LGBT youth who identify as Latino surveyed in the 2012.
  • Learn about HRC’s Supporting and Caring for our Bisexual Youth report, focusing on the 40% of respondents to the 2012 survey who identified as bixsexual.

Date: 2018