While few nationally representative, large surveys of youth ask about sexual orientation and gender identity, best estimates suggest that between 7-9% of youth identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. Using these estimates, the Williams Institute reports that there are approximately 3.2 million LGBTQ youth between the ages of eight and 18, more than half of whom (52%) are youth of color (compared to 39% of LGBTQ adults who are people of color). LGBTQ youth are at risk for family rejection, homelessness, discrimination and bullying at school, and harmful so-called "conversion therapy" practices. LGBTQ youth are also uniquely resilient and build amazing support structures for themselves.
This page contains resources addressing the challenges and strengths of LGBTQ youth ranging from challenges for transgender youth in schools, LGBTQ youth and their experiences in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, and maps showing state laws that impact LGBTQ youth including conversion therapy, safe schools, and child welfare.
March 2023 - Increasing efforts to limit visibility and acceptance of LGBTQ people more broadly include banning books at public libraries, preventing transgender youth from playing sports with their friends, and banning drag performances.
Bans on best-practice medical care represent one of the most extreme and coordinated political attacks on transgender people in recent years. These bills target transgender youth by blocking their access to best-practice medical care.
Schools laws impact the lives of LGBT students and youth, from prohibiting discrimination, bullying, and harassment, to laws and policies that prohibit students and teachers from talking about LGBT issues.
Conversion therapy laws prohibit licensed mental health practitioners from subjecting LGBT minors to harmful conversion "therapy" practices that attempt to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Child welfare nondiscrimination laws protect youth in the child welfare system from discrimination based on the youth's sexual orientation and gender identity.
May 2022 - This blog post provides a 2022 overview of legislative efforts across the country that seek to ban health care for transgender youth.
March 2022 - This report examines the wave of state legislation that censor discussions of race, ethnicity, religion, and LGBTQ people in schools and that create a hostile climate for students.
April 2021 - This report provides an overview of the legislative efforts across the country that seek to ban health care for transgender youth and the harmful impacts these bills could have.
November 2020 - This brief highlights 10 actions the Biden administration can immediately start to ensure LGBTQ people and their families can be protected from discrimination.
August 2020 - This report examines the potential outcomes of the Fulton v. City of Philadelphia case, which could create a license to discriminate throughout the child welfare system.
February 2019 - Launched by the Movement Advancement Project, the Biden Foundation, and Gender Spectrum, “Advancing Acceptance” raises awareness of the importance of family and community acceptance in the lives of transgender and gender diverse youth.
February 2019 - As part of the “Advancing Acceptance” public education campaign, MAP, the Biden Foundation and Gender Spectrum released new resources including a new infographic, a clearinghouse of helpful links, tips for advancing the conversation, and policy recommendations geared toward promoting acceptance within families and communities of transgender and gender diverse youth. Learn more at www.advancingacceptance.org
February 2019 - Many people don’t understand what it means to be transgender, so some parents or family members struggle when their child comes out as transgender or gender diverse. These resources are geared toward answering those questions. These resources also help parents gain deeper understanding and learn how to best support their child in ways that can help them succeed and thrive.
February 2019 – Many people don’t understand what it means to be transgender or gender diverse, so some communities struggle with how to best work with and support children and youth who are transgender or gender diverse. This document highlights critical resources that promote community understanding and acceptance of transgender and gender diverse youth.
February 2019 – Parents, family and friends of transgender youth can play a vital role in providing guidance to others who know or believe their child might be transgender—and that’s where this guide comes in. Talking About Family Acceptance & Transgender Youth, is designed primarily for use by parents, family and friends of transgender youth and provides an overview of conversation approaches that can help families and friends build and extend support for the transgender youth in their own lives.
February 2019 – Parents, family and friends of transgender youth can play a vital role in providing guidance to others who know or believe their child might be transgender—and that’s where this guide comes in. Hear from the Berman-Ruth and Wylie families discussing how they have supported their son, Xander, a transgender boy, through his transition. This resource was created as part of the Advancing Acceptance campaign. Learn more at www.advancingacceptance.org.
February 2019 – This ad showcases the Berman-Ruth family and their close family friends, the Wylie family, discussing how they have supported their son, Xander, a transgender boy, through his transition. Journeys: The Berman-Ruth & Wylie Families, was released as part of the Advancing Acceptance campaign, a project of MAP, the Biden Foundation and Gender Spectrum. Learn more at www.advancingacceptance.org.
October 2018 - MAP's latest brief shows how the expansion of the ability of colleges and universities to claim a religious exemption to federal nondiscrimination laws can have a profoundly negative impact on LGBTQ students. These risks include threats of expulsion, increased disciplinary action simply for being LGBT, being denied participation in extracurricular activities, or forced into conversion therapy or counseling.
September 2018 - “Hallway," the new PSA produced by MAP and released in partnership with GLSEN, depicts the harassment transgender students often face when they need to use the restroom at school—and how school administrators and supportive students alike can help. "Hallway," was released as part of the new Safe Schools Movement campaign to encourage parents, educators, youth, and policymakers to advocate for safe schools for LGBTQ youth.
September 2018 - Released as part of the new Safe Schools Movement, this new infographic brief from MAP, GLSEN and NCTE highlights the experience of transgender students in school and the laws and policies still needed to ensure transgender students can fully participate in school.
July 2018 – An amendment to a federal appropriations bill seeks to create a license to discriminate for child welfare providers, prioritizes the interests of providers over the welfare of children, reduces the likelihood that the most vulnerable children will find stability, and cuts more than $1.04 billion to state child welfare budgets. The more than 395,000 children in the child welfare system across the country will pay the price.
February 2018 - This infographic outlines the overrepresentation of LGBTQ youth in the child welfare system and the criminal justice system, and their experiences while involved with these systems.
Update February 2018 - Every student deserves a fair chance to succeed in school and prepare for their future—including students who are transgender. This two page infographic offers an explanation of why Title IX of the Civil Rights Act is so important for transgender students and reviews the legal landscape.
July 2017 - LGBT Policy Spotlight: Conversion Therapy Bans offers an overview of laws protecting LGBT youth from conversion therapy practices that attempt to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. These practices have been widely discredited and renounced, including by groups like the American Psychological Association.
June 2017 - LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in juvenile detention and correctional facilities. LGBTQ youth who are incarcerated in juvenile detention and correctional facilities face bias in adjudication, and mistreatment and abuse in confinement facilities. LGBTQ youth also lack supportive services when leaving the criminal and juvenile justice systems, often forcing them back into negative interactions with law enforcement. This report highlights their experiences and the need to reform the juvenile justice system.
April 2017 - This new report examines the harmful and unnecessary policies that exclude transgender students from accessing appropriate school facilities. Despite the success of inclusive policies across the country, seventeen states have introduced legislation designed to ensure transgender students are relegated to facilities that align with the sex on their birth certificate, rather than their gender identity.
February 2017 - To help make sense of the current policy landscape in the states, this report looks at legal equality for transgender people across the country. The gender identity tally is comprised of 25 state laws and policies in five key categories: Non-Discrimination, LGBT Youth, Health and Safety, Ability to Correct the Name and Gender Marker on Identity Documents, and Adoption and Parenting.
January 2017 - As part of ongoing efforts to protect transgender people from discrimination, there is growing momentum to ensure that transgender students have a fair chance at educational success. This guide provides high-level messaging to help build support for policies and laws that protect transgender students and their ability to access school facilities that match their gender identity.
August 2016 - This companion report examines how as many as 3.2 million LGBTQ youth are vulnerable to discrimination, profiling, and mistreatment in the juvenile and criminal justice systems. The report also documents the rampant mistreatment and abuse that LGBTQ young people face in court proceedings, detention and re-entry.
June 2016 - LGBT and gender non-conforming girls, particularly girls of color, are drastically over-represented in the criminal justice system. This infographic highlights the unique experiences of LGBT and GNC girls with criminal justice systems.
November 2013 - Safe public discussions about suicide can play a critical role in increasing acceptance of LGBT people and supporting their well-being, while minimizing the risk of a phenomenon known as suicide contagion.
Noviembre 2013 - El debate público y prudente sobre el suicidio juega un papel muy importante en generar una mayor aceptación de personas LGBT, contribuir a su bienestar y minimizar el riesgo de que se produzca el fenómeno denominado contagio suicida.