Incarcerated LGBQ youth held longer, suffer more sexual abuse than heterosexual peers, study says

Gay, lesbian and bisexual youth are held behind bars longer and have a substantially higher rate of being sexually abused compared to their heterosexual peers, a new study finds

The study, by researchers at the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, is based on the 2012 National Survey of Youth in Custody-2, which was comprised of anonymous youth surveys in a nationally representative sample of juvenile correctional facilities that included an indicator of sexual orientation. Sexual minority youth identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, as well as teenagers that identified as mostly straight, but had some attraction to the same sex.

The report, “Disproportionality and Disparities Among Sexual Minority Youth in Custody,”  appears in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

Here are some key findings:

  • Almost 60 percent of all incarcerated girls are sexual minorities.
  • Sexual minority youth are two and a half times more likely to be held in custody for more than a year compared to heterosexual youth.
  • Gay and bisexual boys were nearly 11 times more likely than straight boys to be sexually abused by peers.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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