Badpuppy Gay Today

Monday, 09 March 1998

LANDMARK SURVEY OF QUEER YOUTH

Just Published Questionnaire Gets Results from 2,000 Young People

Key Findings from the World Wide Web


!OutProud!, The National Coalition for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth and Oasis Magazine have announced the publication of the results of the first-ever survey of queer and questioning youth on the Internet. A summary report of responses from the survey, which included more than 150 questions and ran from August 15 through October 31, 1997, is now available to the public on the World Wide Web. The results can be viewed online or downloaded as a 60-page report at www.oasismag.com/survey/

Early in 1997 !OutProud! and Oasis embarked on this ambitious project with the goal of understanding more about the queer youth communities they serve. The result was a survey which explored a wide range of issues in the lives of queer youth: school, coming out, sexual activity and health, the role of the media in forming self-image, harassment and suicide, religion and spirituality, community, relationships, and the future.

More than 2,000 youth the youngest ten years old responded. The average respondent was 18 years old; 78% of all respondents were male, 21% female, and 1% transgendered or other. A few key findings of the survey include:

- The typical respondent first realized that they might be queer at 12 years of age, but it typically took them another three years before they accepted their orientation.

- Youth are coming out earlier than ever, telling their friends or family for the first time at 16 years old, on average; typically, they tell their best friend first and the response is overwhelmingly positive. 75% of all respondents have come out to at least one person.

- Youth are becoming sexually active at earlier ages, with the typical queer teen reporting their first sexual experience at 14 years of age. Although they believe that they are adequately informed on issues of safer sex, a significant number report that they have had, or would have, unprotected oral or anal sex.

- More than half of all boys and girls responding to the survey indicate that they want to marry someone of the same gender, and even more say that they want to have children of their own.

- 10% of the queer youth watching the Coming Out episode of Ellen gained the courage, from watching the show, to come out for the first time. This finding provided the basis for the launching of the new Save Ellen campaign at http://www.oasismag.com/save-ellen/, helping protect this valuable resource.

With the results of this survey, there is now data that pinpoints exactly what it is that must be done to better advocate for the needs of queer and questioning youth and to provide them with support.

Never before have we had such a window into the lives of queer and questioning youth, said Christopher Kryzan, Executive Director of !OutProud! Thousands of youth across the country gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender responded, typically spending 30 minutes to tell us more about themselves in ways that help us understand, for the first time, who they are, how they live, and of what they hope and dream.

This survey was undertaken with such goals as providing information to community service organizations for use in their outreach efforts, to social service agencies providing services to at-risk youth, to those organizing queer youth in the community and at school, and to those who set government policy, so that they may be accurately informed about the issues these youth face, and the needs which must be met. The survey was unique in its ability to reach in-the-closet youth, one of the most invisible of all minorities.

The survey took approximately thirty minutes to complete, and was delivered electronically via a special Web site..

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