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Supporting Positive Development for LGBTQ Youth

Research-based information about helping LGBTQ youth thrive

Adolescence is a time of intense learning and adaptation when we forge our sense of who we are and who we want to be. Throughout this remarkable period of development, we begin to explore the world and create new relationships with our peers and communities.

Young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) are often tackling these developmental tasks with the added challenges of discrimination and victimization from their communities, schools, peers, and even families. The Trevor Project’s 2021 Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, found that 75 percent of LGBTQ young people have experienced discrimination based on their gender identity and sexual orientation. This is on top of the racial discrimination faced by LGBTQ youth of color.

These challenges contribute to higher rates of anxiety, depression, and thoughts of suicide among LGBTQ youth compared to their straight, cisgender (those whose gender conforms to their birth sex) peers.

The adolescent years are an opportunity to build resilience and shape positive trajectories, and research is clear about how we can support LGBTQ youth to help them thrive. Access to spaces that affirm their sexual orientation and gender identity, having their pronouns respected by those around them, and avenues to change their names and/or gender identity on legal documents like driver’s licenses all improve the emotional well-being of LGBT young people.


3 Things Adults Can Do to Support the Mental Health and Well-being of LGBTQ+ Youth

3 Ways Family Acceptance Helps LGBT Youth Thrive

Creating Communities of Acceptance (Guide)

We suggest the following additional resources for LGBTQ+ young people and those who support them:


For more information and sources:

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