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Fact File
Fact File
Lesbian, Gay & Bisexual Youth


Age of Awareness
Many gay men and lesbians sensed something 'different` about themselves as early as age four or five. The age at which most acknowledge their homosexuality is between 14 and 16 years for males and between 16 and 19 years for females.
Source: Saghir MT. Robins E. Walbian B. Male and Female Homosexuality Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins 1973,

Among Adolescents:
The Kinsey study found that from puberty to age twenty. 28% of boys and 17% of girls had one or more homosexual experiences.
Source: Kinsey AC, Pomeroy WB, Martin CE, Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male, 1948 and Sexual Behaviour in the Human Female, 1953

Among Adults
During adulthood, 37% of Americans have homosexual experiences. Ten Percent are predominantly homosexual. (This is the source of the commonly accepted 10% figure.) Source:Kinsey. op cit


Eighty Percent of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth report severe isolation problems. They experience:

social Isolation : having no one to talk to

emotional Isolation :feeling distanced from family and peers because of their sexual identity and

cognitive isolation : lack of access to good Information about sexual Orientation and Homosexuality

source: Hetrick ES, Martin AD, 'Developmental issues and Their Resolution for Gay and Lesbian Adolescents.' Journal of Homosexuality, 1987.

Family Difficulties
Half of all lesbian and gay youth interviewed report that their parents rejected them due to their sexual orientation.
Source: Remafedi G. 'Male Homosexuality: The Adolescent's Perspective.' Pediatrics 1987

Substance Abuse
In a study of gay male adolescents, 68% reported alcohol use (with 26% using alcohol once or more per week),and 44% reported drug use (with 8% considering themselves drug-dependent). Among young lesbians, 83% had used alcohol, 56% had used drugs, and 11% had used crack/cocaine in the three months preceding the study.
Source: Rosario M, Hunter J, Rotheram-Borus MJ, Unpublished data on lesbian adolescents, HIV Center for Clinical and behavioural studies, Now York state Psychiatric institute,1992.


Gay youth are two to three times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual young people. It is estimated that up to 30% of the completed youth suicides are committed by lesbian and gay youth annually. Source: Gibson P, LCSW. 'Gay Male & Lesbian Youth
Suicide,' US Department of Health & Human Services 1989

Multiple Attempts
In a study of 137 gay and bisexual males, 29% had attempted suicide, almost half of whom reported multiple attempts.
Source :Romafedi G, Farrow JA, Delsher RW 'Risk Factors for Attempted Suicide in Gay and Bisexual Youth.' Pediatrics 1991.


Prevalence In Youth
Sixty percent of young adult cases of AIDS among men who have had sex with men. Because HIV has an average incubation period of 10.5 years before the onset of AIDS, this statistic indicates that these young people were infected as teenagers. Source: Centers for Disease Control 1992

Risk of Infection
The factors that place lesbian & gay youth at very high risk for HIV
transmission include:

having to exchange sex for money,

unsafe sex

substance abuse and

denial of sexual identity
Source: HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioural Studies: New York
State Psychiatric Institute 1992


Physical Assault
In a study of self-identified lesbian and gay youth in New York City, 41% reported suffering violence from their families, peers, or strangers. Of the violent incidents, 46% were directly gay-related and primarily perpetrated by family members. SOURCE: Hunter J. Violence Against Lesbian and Gay Youth, J. Interpersonal Violence 1990

In the Schools
Forty-five Percent of gay males and 20% of lesbian females experience verbal or physical assault in high school. Twenty-eight percent of these youth are forced to drop out of school because of harassment resulting from their sexual orientation. Sources: National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Anti-Gay/Lesbian Victimization New York 1984 and Ramefedi G `Male Homosexuality: The Adolescent perspective` Pediatrics 1987


Expulsion from Families
Twenty-six Percent of gay youth are forced to leave home because of conflicts with their families over their sexual identities.
Sources: National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Anti-Gay/Lesbian
Victimization New York 1984 and Ramefedi G `Male Homosexuality: The Adolescent perspective` Pediatrics 1987

Survival Sex
Up to half of the gay/bisexual males forced out of their homes engage in prostitution to support themselves, greatly increasing their risk for HIV infection Source: Savin-Williams RC, Theoretical Perspectives Accounting for Adolescent Homosexuality` J Adol Health Care 1988

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