In California, there has been growing attention on the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and intersex youth in family, school, and community settings. However, our LGBTQI youth continue to grow up in social and cultural environments that fail to recognize their needs and experiences and in inequitable legal, educational and other systems. As a result, there is more work to be done to change social attitudes and expectations, laws and institutional policies to create environments that are not only safe, but nurturing for youth of different sexual and gender orientations to explore and develop during adolescence.
Currently, there are efforts to make schools safer, increase access to culturally appropriate healthcare, educate parents, peers and community members about sexual orientation, and foster collaborations to improve the resources and support programs available to LGBTQI youth. However, LGBTQI youth are still more likely to experience physical, sexual or emotional victimization, engage in high risk behaviors, such as sexual risk-taking, and experience poor mental health outcomes, including suicide and substance use (1). In addition, they experience higher rates of homelessness and incarceration than other youth (2).
In addition, LGBTQI youth experience barriers to healthcare, social support and other services as a result of homophobia (1). For example, LGBTQI youth are less likely to seek health care due, in part, to fear that medical providers will respond negatively to them or reveal their sexual orientation to their family.
Changing social attitudes, creating safe and supportive environments and, ultimately, promoting the health of LGBTQI youth must include addressing many aspects of these young people’s lives and communities.
This section provides up-to-date research, resources and current events related to the role of parents, creating safe school environments, the intersection of homophobia and racism, access to healthcare, and mental, behavioral and sexual health.
Data and research are essential tools for raising awareness of adolescent health issues, to plan programs and service delivery, and to formulate policy at the state and local levels. CAHC is committed to maintaining a website that serves as a gateway to a wide array of resources, and regularly updating our site to include the most up-to-date research. Direct links are provided when possible, and abstracts are provided for journal articles.
Navigate to the upper right hand corner of this page for a more in-depth look at this health topic. Sections include research, resources, and youth voices.
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(1) Kann, L., et. al. Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Risk Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9–12 — Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, Selected Sites, United States, 2001-2009.
(2) LGBTQ Youth in the Juvenile Justice System. The National Center for Lesbian Rights, June 2006.