According to a new report, a significant number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Ireland aged 25 and under experience severe stress, anxiety and depression.
Compared to the wider teen population, the results show that over half of LGBT teenagers surveyed aged 14 to 18 had self-harmed and a third had attempted suicide. It also reveals that reveals that LGBT people still experience bullying at school, fear of rejection and discrimination, violence and negative attitudes.
The survey forms part of the LGBTIreland Report commissioned by gay rights and support groups GLEN and BelongTo, and funded by the HSE’s National Office for Suicide Prevention.
Research was carried out using online surveys of more than 2,600 people as well as a survey of 1,000 people to assess public attitudes. For the first time, the study included intersex people, those born with sex characteristics that do not allow them to be defined as distinctly male or female.
It found the most common age people discover their LGBT identity is 12 but it is another four years before they tell the first person of their sexual identity.
One in four had not told their parents that they are LGBT.
Meanwhile 3% had not come out to anybody with fear of rejection and discrimination – one of the main reasons they continued to conceal their identity.
GLEN director of mental health Odhran Allen said he was disappointed to see the level of distress among LGBT teenagers and the survey reflects a very serious problem.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Allen said that in particular bullying in school was a widespread problem.
He said that despite the progress made in Ireland, LGBT teenagers feared rejection from family and friends.
The report will be launched this morning by former president of ireland, Dr Mary McAleese.
“This scholarly report is as essential and revealing as it is horrifying,” said McAleese.