STUDENTS: The majority of students stated the need and desire for LGBT+-inclusive curricula, but are concerned that teachers’ introduction of LGBT+-inclusive curricula may continue to isolate LGBT+ youth or present the content ineffectually.
EDUCATORS: The majority of teachers, administrators, and school staff stated the need for high quality instructional materials and trainings in order to ensure all school staff are confident and proficient with the inclusion of LGBT+-inclusive content.
PARENTS: The majority of parents suggest support for teachers in order to ensure the inclusion of LGBT+ history and academic content is presented well. Some parents want to be included in the learning and understanding of LGBT+-inclusive history and academic content.
LIMITATIONS: The findings in this survey data are subject to at least two limitations. First, these data only apply to New England states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire) and New York. Second, the majority of surveyed participants chose to participate in one of History UnErased’s Teacher Enrichment programs.
The CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) monitors six categories of priority health-related behaviors among youth and young adults in grades 9 - 12. In 2015, the CDC’s YRBSS introduced new identifying categories: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Not Sure.
The following is the CDC’s 2017 YRBSS Interpretation, Suggestion for Public Health Action, and Limitations:
Interpretation: Most high school students cope with the transition from childhood through adolescence to adulthood successfully and become healthy and productive adults. However, this report documents that some subgroups of students defined by sex, race/ethnicity, grade in school, and especially sexual minority status have a higher prevalence of many health-risk behaviors that might place them at risk for unnecessary or premature mortality, morbidity, and social problems (e.g., academic failure, poverty, and crime).
Public Health Action: YRBSS data are used widely to compare the prevalence of health-related behaviors among subpopulations of students; assess trends in health-related behaviors over time; monitor progress toward achieving 21 national health objectives; provide comparable state and large urban school district data; and take public health actions to decrease health-risk behaviors and improve health outcomes among youth. Using this and other reports based on scientifically sound data is important for raising awareness about the prevalence of health-related behaviors among students in grades 9–12, especially sexual minority students, among decision makers, the public, and a wide variety of agencies and organizations that work with youth. These agencies and organizations, including schools and youth-friendly health care providers, can help facilitate access to critically important education, health care, and high-impact, evidence-based interventions.
*Sexual minority students in particular struggle because of the disparities in health-related behaviors documented in this report, including violence-related behaviors and alcohol and other drug use, that can be compounded by stigma, discrimination, and homophobia. Because many health-risk behaviors initiated during adolescence often extend into adulthood, they might have life-long negative effects on health outcomes, educational attainment, employment, housing, and overall quality of life.
Limitations: The findings in this report are subject to at least eight limitations. First, these data apply only to youth who attend school and therefore are not representative of all persons in this age group. Nationwide, in 2013, of persons aged 16–17 years, approximately 5% were not enrolled in high school and lacked a high school credential. However, sexual minority youth might represent a disproportionate percentage of high school dropouts and other youths who are absent from or do not attend school. Second, the extent of underreporting or overreporting of health-related behaviors cannot be determined, although the survey questions demonstrate good test-retest reliability. Third, some students might not have known their sexual identity; might have been unwilling to disclose it on the YRBS questionnaire; might have been unwilling to label themselves as heterosexual, gay, lesbian, or bisexual; or might not have understood the sexual identity question. Although the “not sure” response option for the sexual identity question is a credible choice for youth who might truly be unsure of their sexual identity at this point in their lives, this response option might have been selected by students who did not know what the question or the other response options meant.