This article appears in full in At the Intersections. Please visit the site for the full text and citations and to read more about the experiences of LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness and how to support their success.
The largest proportion of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth experiencing homelessness identify as bisexual: in a recent study of street outreach programs by the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, 20.0% of youth identified as bisexual, compared to 9.9% of youth who identified as gay or lesbian, and 4.1% as “something else.” Gender identity was collected separately from sexual orientation; 6.8% of youth in this survey identified as transgender.
Despite bisexual youth comprising the largest proportion of LGB youth, bisexual youth have little access to targeted services. And a growing body of research shows that bisexual youth experience unique challenges and barriers that put them at an increased risk of experiencing homelessness.
For example, bisexual youth report high rates of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. According to a 2011 study of more than 13,000 middle and high school students, over 40% of bisexual youth reported thinking about suicide in the past 30 days (compared to 7% of heterosexual youth and 23% of LGBTQ youth in general), and 17% percent reported attempting suicide in the past year. A 2013 study found that bisexual teens who reported suicidal thoughts did not report a decrease in these thoughts as they aged into adulthood, unlike their heterosexual and gay and lesbian peers.
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