The Human Rights Campaign marks the start of  the tenure of its incoming President, Chad Griffin, by releasing the results of a survey that takes a look at the landscape for LGBT youth today and the challenges ahead in the struggle for equality. Some of the findings:

  • Over one-half of LGBT youth (54 percent) say they have been verbally harassed and called names involving anti-gay slurs;
  • Nearly half of LGBT youth (47 percent) say they do not “fit in” in their community while only 16 percent of non-LGBT youth feel that way;
  • 67 percent of straight youth describe themselves as happy but this number drops to 37 percent among LGBT young people;
  • 83 percent of LGBT youth believe they will be happy eventually, but only 49 percent believe they can be happy if they stay in the same city or town;
  • 6 in 10 LGBT youth say their family is accepting of LGBT people, while a third say their family is not;
  • 92 percent say they hear negative messages about being LGBT – 60 percent say those messages come from elected leaders.

Griffin: “No one would say that growing up LGBT is easy, but this survey is a stark wake-up call to the daily toll that discrimination takes on vulnerable young people. We have a responsibility to change that, because we know all too well that there are real life consequences to inaction.”

The report, available at: www.hrc.org/youth, also coincides with HRC’s project under Griffin to analyze and put a face on the unique experiences of specific groups of youth, for example transgender youth, those of different races, and religious traditions.

Griffin is a founding board member of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), the sole sponsor of the Prop. 8 lawsuit, and was behind the brilliant strategy to recruit Theodore Olson and David Boies to successfully argue the case. A veteran of the Clinton White House communications team and a native of Arkansas.