In 2015, researchers included a question for the first time in the history of the survey allowing students to identify their orientation. Three categorical options were provided: heterosexual; gay, lesbian, bisexual; or not sure. This data provides meaningful comparisons between youth who categorize their orientation as heterosexual and those who do not, and the self-reported health differences between these groups.
Dr. Jonathan Mermin, a senior official at the CDC told the New York Times that he “found the numbers heartbreaking” when the study was released in 2016.
YES Institute extracted the data from Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach County School districts, allowing us to focus on South Florida students (see graphics on this page). South Florida youth who categorize their orientation as gay or bisexual are:
- Five times more likely to attempt suicide and be treated by a medical personnel for their attempts,
- Two times more likely to experience bullying behaviors and school violence, and are
- Over three times more likely to turn to substance abuse.
Martha Fugate, founding Director of YES Institute said, “There is no pill to prevent suicide. We must fortify the environments where youth grow up.”
YES Institute continues to dare to dream of a day where all youth are free from suicide, violence, and discrimination. We continue to passionately pursue that vision through our community dialogues, courses, and consulting services.
Discover how you can get involved and make a difference today!
Kann, L., Olsen, E.O., McManus, T., Harris, W.A., Shanklin, S.L., Flint, K.H., Queen, B., … & Zaza, S. (2016). Sexual identity, sex of sexual contacts, and health-related behaviors among students in grades 9-12 – United States and selected sites, 2015. Retrieved from CDC.