by Jeremy Leaming
While the marriage equality movement appears to be on the upswing – poll numbers show more support for same-sex marriages and President Obama has provided eloquent backing – the broader landscape for the LGBT community remains fraught with enormous challenges.
The LGBT community continues to fight for protections against discrimination in the workplace, and struggle against callousness from government officials who are intent on cutting social safety net programs. And many LGBT youngsters, a new report finds, are growing up in hostile environments.
A report by the Human Rights Campaign surveying more than 10,000 LGBT youths nationwide, perhaps not surprisingly, shows the overwhelming number of LGBT youngsters report facing harassment, discrimination and isolation. The Los Angeles Times says the report “paints an often stark picture of the challenges of growing up gay in this country, even as same-sex marriage gains support among many Americans and other legal and cultural barriers to gay equality begin to fall.”
Linda Spears, vice president of policy for the Child Welfare League of America, told the newspaper that the HRC study confirms “our worst fears about LGBT kids. These kids are often so vulnerable in the way their lives are being led because of the lack of support they have."
The report found that LGBT youth are “more than two times as likely as non-LGBT youth to say they have been verbally harassed and called names at school. Among LGBT youth, half (51%) have been verbally harassed at school, compared with 25% among non-LGBT students.”
Four in ten LGBT youth, 13 to 17 year-olds, said they lived in a community not accepting of them. The report found that only 21 percent of LGBT youth say they reside in a place with a community that helps LGBT people.