Adria M. Maine

Discrimination against LGBT+ youth

It's time to stop hate against someone who if different because of who they identify as or who they want to love.

A report by HRC called Growing Up LGBT in America is actually a survey with more than 10,000 children ages 13-17 identified as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender, that doesn’t mean everything’s okay and easy for them and it’s usually quite the opposite.

Discrimination, harassment and bullying against LGBT+ people is a massive problem but an even worse problem is what LGBT+ youth have to go through on a daily basis; we must pass a law to change this.

A lot of people think that LGBT+ children don’t actually go through a lot of struggles but that’s not true in the slightest, especially when it comes to housing. The top need for transgender and LGBT+ youth is housing, 28% of transgender youth and 26% of LGBT+ youth are in dire need of a roof over their head. Homelessness is already a major problem for the U.S. and it’s sad that other problems blossom from this. There is almost 1.6 million children that are homeless and studies show that around 40% of those minority are apart of the LGBT+ community. LGBT+ homelessness is almost never someones choice and most of the time, the child is literally kicked out or forced out of their home because they either felt unsafe or their family and peers were unfortunately not accepting of them. As was said, around 40% of homeless children are identified as LGBT+ and most of them state that the reasons for them being on the streets were because they ran away or were rejected because they were identified in the LGBT+ community. It is a fact that LGBT+ adolescence are most commonly seen in foster care, juvenile detention and among youth on the streets. This illustrates that there are way too many children without a family or a roof over their head just because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. It shouldn’t be like that and it’s wrong that this is actually a problem for many Americans.

There are, however, some LGBT+ youth who are not on the streets. Maybe because their family is accepting, but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes, it’s only because they are not ‘out’ as some people would say, to their immediate families and usually it’s because they are frightened to. Coming out is a very scary experience and especially after hearing about a ton of children not being accepted by their families, it can get even more scary because you just don’t know what will happen anymore. It is said that 42% of LGBT+ people are said to be living in an unwelcoming environment, and unsurprisingly 80% of LGBT+ youth have reported severe social isolation just because their peers think it’s wrong or just because they are different. Due to these percentages, unfortunately, LGBT+ teens are 8.4x more likely to commit suicide, and also 5.9x more likely to have high levels of depression. Fortunately, in 2013, there was a study that showed that 92% LGBT+ adults think that society became more accepting of them in the past 5-10 years. Even though this is a fact, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a problem, especially for LGBT+ kids. LGBT+ adults are more likely to be able to handle discrimination and harassment, but that’s because they are adults, they have more experience than children do and they can handle things better. Adults do have to deal with society, yes, that is true, but LGBT+ youth have to deal with society and their school environment.

It is known that schools with policies on bullying and harassment have LGBT+ students who are a lot more likely to report problems they have with their peers. It’s great to know this, it means we are improving, but we still need to put more laws into action if we want to fully stop this. Too many children in school are faced with verbal and physical abuse, and though it might not happen to every LGBT+ child, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen at all. According to GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network), the second most common reason for bullying and harassment was sexual orientation and gender identification, the first being appearance. GLSEN also conducted another study, their results saying that 86% of LGBT+ youth have said they have been harassed at school. This shows that even if it’s not the first most common reason for bullying, it’s still a problem and 86% is very high when put next to the 27% of all students that are actually being bullied and hated against in general. It’s sad to hear that LGBT+ students are twice as likely to say they don’t want to or don’t plan on completing high school or that LGBT+ students feel they are unsafe in school environments, a fact is that 6 in 10 LGBT+ students say they feel unsafe at school because they are apart of that community.

That isn’t right. As our future president, you should definitely put more laws in action to stop things like this from happening. We have gotten better as time as gone on and society is slowly becoming more accepting of LGBT+ people, but we aren’t quite there yet. I understand that you probably don’t have full control over every school in the USA and it might be difficult to handle harassment and discrimination against LGBT+ youth at school, but that isn’t an excuse. There are things you can do, as was said in this letter, you can still pass laws saying that people can’t discriminate or hate against LGBT+ adults and children, this is a law we’ve needed for a long time and I believe that it’s your job as president to put these kinds of laws in action.