New York, NY — Yesterday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new nationally representative data on the health of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) high school students. The report, Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Related Behaviors among Students in Grades 9–12 – United States and Selected Sites, 2015 shows that significant and alarming health disparities exist between LGB youth and their heterosexual peers across the United States. LGB young people, and young people who are unsure of their sexual orientation, make up 11.2 percent of high school students nationwide.
Statement from Leslie Kantor, PhD, MPH, Vice President of Education, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“At a time when our nation has done historic work to advance rights for gay, lesbian and bi-sexual people, we are confronted with the stark reality that we are failing our lesbian, gay, and bisexual young people.
“LGB young people and young people who are unsure of their sexual orientation are experiencing bullying, dating violence, and sexual assault at significantly higher rates than their peers who identify as heterosexual. Rates of depression, suicidal thoughts, and suicide attempts are up to three times higher among LGB youth -- with 60% of LGB young people reporting feelings of sadness and hopelessness, and nearly 30% reporting suicide attempts. This news is heartbreaking and appalling. The good news is we can and must do better.
“All young people need access to sex education, health services, and safe and supportive school environments. Everyone who works with young people must increase their efforts to meet the needs of LGB youth and help shift these astounding health disparities. One important way we can make a difference is to ensure that sex education is inclusive and affirming of LGBTQ youth -- as well as through connecting young people to high quality, nonjudgmental health services.”
Throughout the country, Planned Parenthood provides LGBTQ inclusive sex education in schools and communities, support groups and programs for LGBTQ youth, and non-judgmental, high quality health care. We also provide trainings to youth serving professionals and programs for parents and families, and can serve as a resource for meeting the needs of LGBTQ adolescents.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With over 650 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
August 12, 2016