Thirty Percent of Young LGBQ People Have Attempted Suicide

Author: The Williams Institute
Published: Friday 9th April 2021
Summary: First nationally representative study to examine stress and resilience among three generations of LGB people.


A new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds younger LGBQ adults experience greater psychological distress and suicidal behavior than older LGBQ people.

Researchers examined a representative sample of LGBQ people in the United States from three age groups—young (18-25), middle (34-41), and older (52-59)—to assess how stress, identity, and connectedness with the LGBT community differed among the three generations. Researchers expected that younger LGBQ people would fare better in terms of stress and mental health outcomes than their older peers, who came of age in a more hostile social and legal environment for LGBT people.

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.”

ADDITIONAL FINDINGS


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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