Child Trends works to ensure that our research accurately reflects the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth (LGBTQ+)—including those who are asexual, pansexual, two-spirit, nonbinary, and intersex. We recognize that LGBTQ+ youth’s identities must be affirmed and respected in the research, policies, and programs that impact young people’s lives. To that end, we take an intersectional approach to understanding the roles of race, class, ability, religion, language, and other social identities in the rich, complex experiences of LGBTQ+ youth.

Many LGBTQ+ youth experience multiple forms of discrimination and stigma, including racism, sexism, ableism, and classism, in addition to homophobia and transphobia. Child Trends thinks critically about how these historical and systemic factors affect LGBTQ+ youth and may lead to observed health and educational disparities between these youth and their cisgender, heterosexual peers. We also celebrate strengths and protective factors: Most LGBTQ+ youth successfully navigate adolescence, and their supportive relationships with family, school staff, and peers can serve as critical buffers to experiences of discrimination and stigma.

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