CDC: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Teens More Likely to be Bullied, Engage in Risky Behavior, be in Abusive Relationships

By Dustin Siggins Published on August 16, 2016

A federal study has found that teenagers who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) face more bullying and engage in more unsafe behavior such as sex, drug use, and use of alcohol when compared to heterosexual counterparts. Same-sex attracted teens also face far higher rates of abuse in their relationships.

Challenging the common assumption of “safe sex” advocates, the study found that almost half (45.7 percent) of students in grades nine through 12 had never engaged in sexual contact with someone of the same or the opposite sex.

The study, released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), compared and contrasted survey respondents in multiple categories, such as sexual identification, biological sex and sexual behavior. It surveyed more than 15,600 students at 125 public and private schools across the country. Titled Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Related Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9–12, the massive study was directed by Laura Kann, a researcher from the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention.

Sexual Contact Overall

“Nationwide, 88.8% of students identified as heterosexual, 2.0% identified as gay or lesbian, 6.0% identified as bisexual, and 3.2% were not sure of their sexual identity,” reported the researchers, relying on surveys the students answered anonymously. “Nationwide, 48.0% of students had had sexual contact with only the opposite sex, 1.7% had had sexual contact with only the same sex, 4.6% had had sexual contact with both sexes, and 45.7% had had no sexual contact.”

Of the  students who had not had any sexual relations, 91 percent said they are heterosexual, while six percent “identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.” The rest, three percent, were not sure how to identify themselves.

Risky Behaviors, Guns in School

For many non-sexual risky behaviors, such as not wearing a helmet while bicycling or drinking while driving, teenagers reported the same behaviors no matter what their sexual self-identification.

There were some differences, however. Heterosexual students were far more likely than LGB teenagers to drive and text or email in the 30 days before the survey — 42.6 percent compared to 30.3 percent. LBG students were more likely to smoke cigarettes at all and if they smoked to smoke many cigarettes. The same was true for drinking and the use of a wide range of drugs, including marijuana, heroin and cocaine.

The students differed also in their use and experience of guns and violence in school. Students who had opposite-sex-only sexual relations were twice to carry or have carried a weapon of any kind as teenagers who had never engaged in sexual contact.

Just 5.1 percent of heterosexual teens had been threatened with or injured by a weapon on school property at least once in the prior year, half the percentage of LBG students (10 percent) and a little over one-third of the uncertain students (13 percent). Similarly, only three percent of students who had no sexual contact were threatened or injured by a weapon on school property, compared with seven percent of those who only experienced opposite-sex sexual contact and 13 percent of those who had sexual relations with only the same or with both sexes.

LBG Students and Bullying

One in eight students who identified as LBG said they had missed a day of school in the prior month because of “safety concerns,” while only one in 20 heterosexual teens said they had done the same and only one about one in 28 of those with no sexual contact.

Twice as many (28 percent compared to 14.2 percent) LBG teens reported electronic bullying compared to heterosexual counterparts. Thirty-four percent reported being bullied on school property, compared to 20 percent of heterosexual students.

Relationship Violence Highest

More than one in six LBG students reported being forced to have unwanted sexual intercourse, compared to one in 19 heterosexual students. About one in 12 heterosexual students had been physically harmed on purpose “by someone they were dating or going out with one or more times during the 12 months before the survey.” This compared to 17.5 percent of LBG students, and nearly one in four of students uncertain about their sexual identity.

The figures for sexual violence were just as high. Just over nine percent of heterosexual students, 22.7 percent of LBG students, and almost 24 percent of uncertain students “had been forced to do sexual things (counting being kissed, touched, or physically forced to have sexual intercourse) they did not want to do by someone they were dating or going out with one or more times during the 12 months before the survey.”

Suicide Thoughts and Attempts 

In the year before the survey, far more teens who were not heterosexual were depressed, considered suicide, made a plan to commit suicide or actually attempted to commit suicide.

From the study, during the 12 months before the survey:

  • 29.9% of all students; 26.4% of heterosexual students; 60.4% of gay, lesbian, and bisexual students; and 46.5% of not sure students had felt so sad or helpless almost every day for 2 or more weeks in a row that they stopped doing some usual activities.
  • 17.7% of all students; 14.8% of heterosexual students; 42.8% of gay, lesbian, or bisexual students; and 31.9% of not sure students had seriously considered attempting suicide.
  • 14.6% of all students; 11.9% of heterosexual students; 38.2% of gay, lesbian, and bisexual students; and 27.9% of not sure students had made a plan about how they would attempt suicide.
  • 8.6% of all students; 6.4% of heterosexual students; 29.4% of gay, lesbian, and bisexual students; and 13.7% of not sure students had attempted suicide one or more times.

Two percent of heterosexual students, 9.4 percent of LBG students, and 4.7 percent of uncertain students had to be treated by a nurse or doctor as the result of a suicide attempt.

The Authors’ Answers

The report’s authors offered lengthy opinions on how to improve the lives of those they called “sexual minority students.” They concluded that some of them “struggle because of the disparities in health-related behaviors documented in this report, particularly violence-related behaviors and alcohol and other drug use, that can be compounded by stigma, discrimination, and homophobia.” The authors promoted policies promoting “school connectedness and a safe, welcoming, and accepting school environment for all students,” including “gay/straight alliances” and the use of “inclusive words or terms.”

Others, however, including an open bisexual man, argue that the problem is much more complicated than simply their suffering social disapproval and a lack of support from the schools. For The Stream‘s report on their responses, see here.

Print Friendly
Comments ()
The Stream encourages comments, whether in agreement with the article or not. However, comments that violate our commenting rules or terms of use will be removed. Any commenter who repeatedly violates these rules and terms of use will be blocked from commenting. Comments on The Stream are hosted by Disqus, with logins available through Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or G+ accounts. You must log in to comment. Please flag any comments you see breaking the rules. More detail is available here.
  • Gary

    Life is hard. Especially if you are stupid or perverted.

  • The Dove

    Strange the millions of human beings that can’t grasp something as simple as “You reap what you sow.” When you deliberately stand apart from the norm, you will get attention – not necessarily in a way you like. That’s how people are, sorry.

  • Stephen D

    One might conclude from this study that LBGT behaviour was dangerous to students’ mental health. That’s an obvious possible conclusion. The idea that the psychological problems of LBGT students are caused by discrimination against them by the heterosexual majority is certainly not borne out by the research.
    Sadly though, these students will not be warned about the dangers of their lifestyle, as demonstrated by the research, because to criticise the lifestyle is not PC. Instead they will be encouraged to pursue the lifestyle, in spite of the research, and to blame others for their problems.

  • libsrtheh8ters

    Has anyone ever done a study on the bullying of overweight kids because they get bullied continuously in our society including by adults.
    Homosexuality is just another symptom of emotional disorders/mental illness. To ENCOURAGE mental & emotional illness is cruel & counterproductive.
    Leftists could not care less about the well being of this TINY minority of mentally ill people. They are just USING them to advance their leftist agenda of criminalizing Christianity & wiping it from the public square.

  • libsrtheh8ters

    Since the leftist media, our government & schools tell homosexuals that any time anyone disagrees with them it is a “threat” & “bullying” it is not a shock that they report being bullied more often than normal teens. It is more perception than reality.

  • Jones Howell

    Making LBG students feel better about themselves is counterproductive. One very powerful components of homosexuality is self-loathing. LGB-labeled people attempt suicide, not so much because they are rejected, but because they reject their intuitive, or core, self. It would be better to help people young people develop a healthy self-image and give them tools to resist wrong thinking and behavior.

Inspiration
5 Immaterial Gifts With Eternal Value to Give Away This Christmas Season
Rita Dunaway
More from The Stream
Connect with Us