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Gay, Lesbian And Bisexual Teens Experience More Violence, Higher Suicide Rates

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Gay, lesbian, and bisexual high school teens are much more likely to experience violence in a dating situation compared to their classmates, reports the first national survey to look at the issues.

The survey also found that aside from higher incidences of rape and assault, gay teens were far more likely to attempt suicide, take illegal drugs and engage in similar risky behaviors, the Washington Post reports.

These findings support the results of smaller surveys from gay advocacy groups and is the first nationally-representative government study of its kind.

For years, gay rights groups have been pointing out that gay and lesbian students are more bullied, ostracized and experience more social, emotional and mental problems. But earlier government research was limited to a handful of states and cities. This new survey includes statistics for both urban and rural areas across the country.

David W. Bond of the Trevor Project, a national organization that seeks to prevent suicides among gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth, says,

This is the first time we can say that nationwide these are consistent challenges faced by lesbian, gay and bi- youth.

The results of the study come from responses of around 15,600 students given during an anonymous survey completed last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, released Thursday.

Around 2% of the respondents said they identified as gay or lesbian, 6% stated that they were bisexual, and 3% were not sure of their sexual identity.

This means that of the 16 million private and public high school students last year, an estimated 321,000 were gay or lesbian, and 964,000 were bisexual, the CDC reports.

Among the findings stated in the study were that nearly one in five of gay, lesbian and bisexual students said they had been raped at some point in their lives, compared to one in 20 heterosexual students.

In addition, close to one in five who had been on a date in the past year said that their companion had hit them, slammed them against a surface or committed some form of physical violence against them – twice more than what straight students reported.

One in three said that they had been bullied at school, compared to one in five for straight kids. One in 10 stated that they had missed school in the past month because of safety concerns, while less than one in 20 straight students said the same.

Over one in four said they had attempted suicide in the past year, compared to one in 16 of their straight peers.

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