LGBTQ forum addresses changes in individual rights
Supportive family, friends, community essential for LGBTQ students
Author Anthony D’Augelli, a professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Pennsylvania State University, spoke Monday evening on the pervasiveness of mental health issues among LGBTQ youth.
The 21st century has brought significant advances in the research about LGBTQ youth communities, D’Augelli said, while emphasizing the work left to be done researching mental health in those communities. Approximately 75 percent of LGBTQ youth experience verbal abuse, he added.
The primary issue for LGBT youth is coming out,” he said. “[In the past], the more ‘out’ a young person was, the more abuse would occur … Two-thirds [of LGBTQ youth are] told they were different by their families and that they [have] to act in atypical ways.”
Life for LGBTQ individuals is improving in many ways, however, and as abuse declines they are able to consider pursuing positive experiences, such as forming a family and getting married, D’Augelli said. “Gay marriage was not an issue way back [but] we’re in a very different world now,” he said. “Having supportive family, friends, relationships and a supportive community [are essential LGBTQ individuals].”
Despite these improvements, more scholarly research is needed, Arts & Sciences Graduate Student Rachel Narr said. “[LGBTQ youth are] an extremely marginalized group and significantly misrepresented,” she said. “It’s important to bring this topic to the public eye and the research area.”