Sexual Minority Youth More Likely to Experience Homelessness

Greater acceptance of sexual diversity at the state level associated with reduced homelessness

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Nov. 20, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Sexual minority youth are more likely to experience homelessness, according to a study published online Nov. 20 in Pediatrics.

Cameron Deal and Gilbert Gonzales, Ph.D., from the Vanderbilt LGBTQ+ Policy Lab in Nashville, Tennessee, conducted a secondary data analysis using a large population-based sample from 21 states collected in the Youth Risk Behavior Surveys for 2017 and 2019. Self-reported data were obtained from 28,405 sexual minority and 136,232 heterosexual youth through a survey administered in high schools; the prevalence of homelessness and types of homelessness were examined.

The researchers found that compared with heterosexual youth, sexual minority youth were significantly more likely to be homeless (12 versus 4.1 percent). Among sexual minority and heterosexual youth, greater acceptance of sexual diversity at the state level was associated with reduced homelessness. Compared with nonhomeless sexual minority youth and homeless heterosexual youth, homeless sexual minority youth had elevated levels of a broad array of health risk behaviors.

“Practitioners should be aware of the health risks experienced by sexual minority homeless youth,” the authors write. “More research, educational campaigns, and collaborative solutions are needed to prevent homelessness among sexual minority youth.”

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