This year’s International Youth Day is a good time to remind us of the suffering many young lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people face daily. FRA research has revealed high levels of discrimination and violence towards young LGBTI people, underlining the need for targeted responses to put a halt to the fear and isolation many endure.
LGBT youths are likely to experience physical and psychological violence and discrimination. This may be caused by hostility from their non-LGBTI peers, inspired by strong perceptions of gender roles in society.
Analysis of the findings of FRA’s EU LGBT survey into LGBT hate crime and discrimination revealed that younger LGBT people experience a less favourable social environment than older LGBT people. Respondents aged 18-24 tended to be more likely to perceive their environment as intolerant towards LGBT people, most often to believe that discrimination is more widespread in their country and are less open about being LGBT.
Almost a third of respondents to the survey from across the EU aged 18-24 also experienced physical/sexual attacks in the last five years. Over a half of them attributed this to their sexual orientation or gender identity. 39% of them always, or often, were bullied at school. Often they were not even safe at home: 7% of them indicated that family members were the perpetrators of the most serious incident of violence. A quarter of these young respondents also hid their sexual orientation and/or gender identity from their families.
Such evidence points to the need to specifically address the needs of young LGBTI people. This should also extend to the home and school environments which should be safe havens for young people, which is often not the case.
Overall further research is needed to tackle the lack of data on violence and discrimination towards LGBTI youths. Such data would also help counter gender stereotypical views in society and harmful practices resulting from such views. It would enable the formulation of evidence-based advice. It would help stop the violence and discrimination that young LGBTI people face in their daily lives at home, at school and on the streets while also enabling them to be open and be themselves without fear.