America’s queer youth is struggling

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A new survey conducted by The Trevor Project shed light on the mental health struggles and hopes of LGBTQ young people. In a time when anti-LGBTQ legislation is at an all-time high, it’s critical to understand the needs of the communities that are being targeted. Through surveying more than 28,000 LGBTQ young people between the ages of 13 and 24, The Trevor Project brings us closer to that understanding.

Nearly 1 in 3 LGBTQ young people said their mental health was poor most of the time or always due to anti-LGBTQ policies – which shows that the political is personal and when politicians advance anti-LGBTQ legislation, they’re harming the mental health of their targets. This is especially important to note in 2023, when the highest amount of discriminatory legislation is being proposed in state houses across the country.

LGBTQ young people who had access to affirming homes, schools, community events, and online spaces reported lower rates of attempting suicide compared to those who did not. Affirmation – whether it’s in the form of a home environment or an online space – can actually change whether a person attempts suicide. And affirmation can be so simple. It can be respecting someone’s pronouns or honouring their sexual orientation.

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U.S. anti-queer laws drive young people into mental health crisis

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Over 150 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced across 23 U.S. states in 2023. Recent research finds that 71% of LGBTQ youth say restrictive state laws and the debates surrounding them are having a negative impact on their mental health.

More than 150 anti-LGBTQ bills have either been pre-filed or introduced across 23 states so far in 2023, according to nonprofit organization The Trevor Project. These policies themselves — and the dangerous rhetoric that surrounds them — are taking a toll on LGBTQ youth across the country.

In a recent poll, The Trevor Project sheds light on how these proposals and legislation that directly target LGBTQ youth are having a tangible effect. Among the findings, 86% of trans and nonbinary youth report that debates around anti-trans bills, specifically, have had negative effects on their mental health.

Due to 2022 debates that swirled around these policies, and fears over what will happen if they are enacted, 45% of transgender youth reported experiencing cyberbullying, while nearly 1 in 3 reported “not feeling safe to go to the doctor or hospital when they were sick or injured,” according to the poll.

These data are just a snapshot of the wider picture of how anti-LGBTQ legislation and rhetoric are filtering from political forums through tv and laptop screens and directly into the day-to-day lives of queer youth in the U.S.

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