Some statistics in the report reveal a stark difference between LGBTQ youth and their non-LGBTQ peers. Non-LGBTQ youth said they were worried about school performance, getting into and paying for college, financial prospects, while LGBTQ youth were worried about being kicked out of the house, safety at school and in the community, and dealing with the stress of hiding aspects of their identity because of intolerance.
HRC and the Trevor Project state that in addition to doing more focused research, the existing study can be used to introduce issues that face LGBTQ youth to family, school members, faith communities, community leaders, health professionals, and other persons of interest. However, increased awareness of bullying, hazing, and teen suicides does not mean the problems are solved. LGBTQ youth not feeling safe is still a problem in the school, at home, in worship communities, youth clubs, and on the street. Luckily those problems are lessening, but they are not gone.
Moreover, the pressures of constant vigilance, of having to monitor 'passing' or looking nonthreatening, or avoiding discrimination, can lead to marked health issues over time. The Trevor Project identified health disparities, and studies on 'minority stress' effects are being performed.
While the report states LGBTQ youth can be optimistic that their lives will get better, this optimism seems tied to location: LGBTQ youth are more likely to say that they need to move away from where they currently live in order to find more acceptance and happiness (63 percent of LGBTQ youth compared to 31 percent of non-LGBTQ youth).
For LGBTQ Marylanders, things are getting better: Baltimore City and Montgomery County have statutes on the books that prohibit discrimination based on gender expression or identity. Equality Maryland and other groups are working to expand these anti-discrimination laws to the entire state.
The Trevor Project's hotlines are available for youth in distress nationwide, and TrevorSpace is available to those youth who want a space to talk about sexual orientation, gender identity, and find that they are not alone. During Pride events, there are health resources and information often freely available, and more health programs are sensitive to LGBTQ folk or those who do not conform to the gender binary. As always, the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore is there to provide resources and support.