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Research brief finds LGBTQ youth at risk of physical dating violence

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A research brief released on Friday, Feb. 12, by the Trevor Project has found that LGBTQ youth are at a higher risk for dating violence compared with straight/cisgender peers, and leading to a higher suicide risk.

Importantly, the risk is linked to experiences of rejection, discrimination, and physical harm due to having an LGBTQ identity rather than being LGBTQ itself.

The brief stated that LGBTQ youth who experienced physical dating violence in the past year had significantly greater odds of reporting a past-year suicide attempt. Experiencing physical dating violence was associated with greater odds of a past-year suicide attempt across age ranges, gender identities, and race/ethnicities. Overall, 11% of LGBTQ youth who reported dating someone in the past year experienced physical dating violence. The risk was higher for cisgender LGBQ women and even higher for transgender and nonbinary youth.

Native American LGBTQ youth were at the highest risk as well, having 2.75 times greater odds of dating violence compared to white LGBTQ youth. Latinx and multi-racial youth also faced higher odds of violence.

The research also found that more than a third of LGBTQ youth who experienced dating violence told no one. Close to half of cisgender LGBTQ male youth (46%) and Black LGBTQ youth (47%) did not tell anyone. Of those who did tell someone, 53% told a friend and another 29% told a parent or therapist.

The Trevor Project said that the data shows a need to invest in greater school-based programming to prepare young people with ways to identify and assist their peers who may be experiencing dating violence, as well as programs focused on developing and maintaining healthy relationships. 

The organization also said there is a need for groups focused on dating violence domestic violence shelters to be LGBTQ inclusive.

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