However, results showed that young LGBQ people experienced high or the highest levels of everyday discrimination, psychological distress, and internalized homophobia. For example, 30% of young LGBQ adults reported at least one suicide attempt in their lifetimes, compared to 24% of the middle cohort and 21% of the older cohort.
Young LGBQ people also reported the highest levels of connection to the LGBT community and were more likely to say their sexual identity is central to who they are, compared to their older peers.
“The findings remind us that LGBT equality remains elusive. The persistence of cultural ideologies, such as homophobia and heterosexism, continue to result in rejection and violence against sexual minorities in the United States,” said lead author Ilan H. Meyer, Distinguished Senior Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute. “It is vital that we recognize threats to the health and well-being of sexual minority people across all ages.”
- Approximately 10% of young LGBQ adults identified as gender nonbinary, compared to 3.5% of LGBQ adults in both the middle and older cohorts.
- Young LGBQ adults were more likely to be people of color.
- 26% of young LGBQ people are Latino, compared to 17% of the middle cohort and 11% of the oldest generation.
- Each cohort reached sexual identity milestones—identifying as LGBQ, the first same-sex sexual experience, and coming out—earlier than the previous one.
- On average, young LGBQ people identified as LGBQ at age 14, compared to age 16 for the middle cohort and age 18 for the oldest.
- Younger LGBQ adults showed more extreme experiences of victimization in a shorter span of time than the middle and older cohorts.
- More than one-third (37%) of young LGBQ adults experienced being hit, beaten, physically attacked, or sexually assaulted.
- Almost half (46%) had someone threaten them with violence.
- Nearly three out of four (72%) were verbally insulted or abused.
- Young LGBQ adults had higher levels of psychological distress compared to the two older cohorts.
- Young LGBQ people had a score of 10.2 on the Kessler scale, a frequently used clinical measure of distress, compared with 7.6 for the middle cohort and 5.4 for the oldest.
The Generations Study examines the health and well-being of cisgender and nonbinary LGBQ people. Transgender people, regardless of their sexual orientation, were included in our TransPop Study, which examines the demographics, health, and lived experiences of the first national probability sample of transgender individuals in the U.S.
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The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, a think tank on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy, is dedicated to conducting rigorous, independent research with real-world relevance.
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