The data included survey responses from more than 34,000 LGBTQ+ people, ages 13 to 24, between October and December 2020. The survey included both open-ended questions and multiple-choice options on a number of topics, ranging from how COVID-19 affected their lives, to electronic and personal bullying, to suicidal thoughts, with the general focus on bullying and suicide attempts.
More than 50% of LGBTQ+ high and high school students said they had been bullied in the past year, either through a virtual method (such as texting or social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram) or in person. About 40% said the bullying had taken place online, while about 33% said the bullying took place in person. About 60% of trans and non-binary students reported bullying, while about 45% of cisgender queer students did.
Just over 50% of white students reported bullying, comparable to about 54% of multiracial students. 40% of black students, 41% of AAPI students and 47% of Latinx students also reported bullying. However, the largest percentage came from native and indigenous students, where 70% reported being bullied.
One in four high school students who said they were being bullied tried to commit suicide, and just under 30% of high school students reported the same. About 14% of trans and non-binary students who were not bullied attempted suicide, while more than 30% of the bullied did.
Respondents who describe their school as LGBTQ+ affirmatively had 30% lower chance of being bullied in both high school and high school. This finding was also consistent for both trans and non-binary youth and cisgender youth.
As I discussed earlier on The Atlantic Ocean, LGBTQ+ students being bullied at school is unfortunately far from new. That said, it’s deeply disturbing that in the past few months alone we’ve seen some debate and conflict erupting over teachers simply hanging the Pride flag in their classrooms or talking about self-identifying as LGBTQ+. We’ve seen reports of LGBTQ+ teachers saying they’ve been fired or forced to resign because of their sexual orientation. We have seen students advocating for their LGBTQ+ colleagues when they felt ignored or punished by the administration. That is of course beautiful and inspiring, but no young person should experience the trauma of discrimination and exclusion.
And of course, in the background of all this, Republicans are still enacting horrific anti-trans laws that give new credibility to anti-trans hate speech and backward ideas. If you want to support LGBTQ+ people in your life, consider learning about using gender-neutral pronouns and some basics on how to show up in front of trans friends and family members.
Sign the petition: Demand the Senate to pass the Equality Act and protect the LGBTQ community from discrimination.