Family rejection on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity can have extreme effects on LGBTQ youth. In one study, lesbian, gay and bisexual youth who reported higher levels of family rejection during adolescence were 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide, 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression, 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs and 3.4 times more likely to report having engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse, compared to peers from families that reported no levels of family rejection. As a result of family rejection, discrimination, criminalization and a host of other factors, LGBTQ youth represent as much as 40% of the homeless youth population. Of that population, studies indicate that as many as 60% are likely to attempt suicide.
The Trevor Project exhorts policymakers to fully fund programs that support homeless youth and to legislate environments of LGBTQ inclusion and affirmation. Positive family relationships are some of the most important factors in reducing the risk of youth suicide. For this reason, Trevor aims to ensure that policies surrounding home care, foster care and adoption are inclusive, nondiscriminatory and LGBTQ competent.