The LGBT Student Community

Adam Lenk, Features Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Determining one’s sexual orientation and gender is a natural process for teens and young adults. The process of understanding and expressing sexual orientation and gender and identifying correlating identities based on those feelings varies among the youth. Some may feel perfectly clear about their sexual identity from a young age, where others may be unsure of their sexual orientation. Many LGBT students in the United States have a difficult time in school because of how other students respond to their sexual identity. The social stigma surrounding the LGBT community has been found to increase levels of stress and depression within the community. This stigma can be especially prevalent within a school environment. A 2011 report by the Institute of Medicine found that, “the disparities in both mental and physical health that are seen between LGBT and heterosexual and non-gender-variant youth are influenced largely by their experiences of stigma and discrimination during the development of their sexual orientation and gender identity”. Also, according to the CDC, 34% of LGBT students report being bullied on campus, and 28% report being bullied electronically. Now with this information what can be done to help the LGBT community? Well according to the CDC schools can help by encouraging gay-straight alliance clubs, teaching teachers about how to have a safe environment for LGBT students, encouraging students to be friendly and respectful of LGBT members, and having on campus safe spaces for LGBT members. Parents at home can also help by being open and supportive to their LGBT child. Having open and meaningful conversations with their parents can help LGBT students to feel accepted and safe. To conclude, LGBT students on campus are far more likely to have depressive and anxious behaviors because of the stigma around being an LGBT member, so students and parents should be accepting and understanding to the LGBT community.