LGB Teens More Likely to Experience Sexual and Physical Abuse, Research Finds

LGB teenagers are more likely to face sexual and physical abuse than their straight peers, according to new research.

Researchers analyzed data collected by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) from surveys of 14- to 18-year-old teenagers and found a stark difference between LGB and straight teens regarding physical and sexual abuse and violence.

Overall, LGB teens were found to be roughly two times more likely to be a victim of physical violence than straight teens. Over one in ten LGB teens reported intimate partner violence in the last year, and more than one in five said they had been sexually assaulted.

Lesbian and bisexual girls were found to be over twice as likely to have gotten into a physical fight than straight girls, and gay and bisexual boys were five times more likely to have been sexually assaulted than straight boys.

“Unfortunately, physical and sexual violence are commonplace in the daily lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning adolescents,” said lead author Theodore Caputi. “All adults have a role to play in fostering accepting and safe environments for LGB children.”

Caputi specifically stressed bi-inclusion, as bisexual teens were found to face a high risk of both physical violence in intimate relationships and sexual assault.

“Previous research suggests that bisexual individuals may be hurt by the popular misconception that bisexuality is ‘just a phase,’” he said. “And it is possible that this misconception contributes to the increased violence committed against bisexual adolescents that we observe.”

These findings are published as a research letter in JAMA Pediatrics on March 9.