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Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Teens Often Homeless: Study
Date:7/25/2011

MONDAY, July 25 (HealthDay News) -- Gay, lesbian or bisexual teens are more vulnerable to homelessness than their heterosexual peers, new study results show.

Researchers from Children's Hospital Boston found that one-quarter of gay and lesbian high school students are homeless, and these homeless teens are more likely to be on their own, without the support or supervision of their parents or guardians.

"Prior studies in homeless street youth have found that sexual minorities occur in much higher numbers than we'd expect based on their numbers in the community in general," the study's first author, Heather Corliss, of the division of adolescent and young adult medicine at Children's Hospital Boston, said in a hospital news release.

"The high risk of homelessness among sexual minority teens is a serious problem requiring immediate attention," she added. "These teens face enormous risks and all types of obstacles to succeeding in school and are in need of a great deal of assistance."

In conducting the study, published in the July 21 online edition of the American Journal of Public Health, researchers examined two years of survey data to assess the homeless status and sexual orientation of 6,317 public high school students in Massachusetts.

Overall, the study found that less than 5 percent of students said they were gay, lesbian or bisexual. This small percentage of students, however, accounted for 19 percent of those who reported being homeless.

Although only 3.2 percent of strictly heterosexual students were homeless, that percentage jumped for gay, lesbian or bisexual teens. Homelessness was reported by 25 percent of lesbian and gay students, 15 percent of bisexual students and 12.5 percent of heterosexual teens who admitted to having same-sex partners. Additionally, 20 percent of students who said they were unsure of their sexual orientation said they were homeless, the survey found.

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