Sexual orientation and gender identity among Massachusetts high school students

Results of the 2015 youth risk behavior study.

Table of Contents

LGBTQ students: a demographic overview

In the 2015 MYRBS, 11.1% of students surveyed described themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or not sure (questioning) about their sexual orientation and 2.9% identified themselves as transgender or questioning their gender identity. These categories overlapped, with half 950%) of transgender/questioning youth also self-identifying as LGBQ. Altogether, 12.5% of Massachusetts high school students were LGBTQ.

More female- then male-identified adolescents were LGBTQ (15.4% vs. 9.4%). The percent of youth who said they were LGBTQ varied across racial/ethnic groups (12% of white youth, 10% of African American, 18% of Hispanic, 10% of Asian-American, and 13% of multi-ethnic youth). Gender and racial/ethnic differences were statistically significant.

Percent of students who reported risk behaviors and experiences, 2015

  LGBTQ Students Heterosexual - Cisgender Students
Bullied at school during past year 28.2


Skipped school in past month because felt unsafe 14.4 3.4
Been in a physical fight at school in the past year 9.4 5.1
Carried a weapon at school in the past year 6.1 2.8
Threatened or injured with weapon at school 10.0 3.2
Hurt self on purpose in the past year (e.g., by cutting, burning self) 43.3 14.3
Seriously considered suicide in past year 40.5 11.2
Made a suicide attempt in the past year 22.0 4.8
Can talk to parents about "things that are important to you" 65.2 84.5
Smoked cigarettes in past month 14.1 6.9
Any lifetime heroin use 6.7 1.0
Had experienced sexual contact against their will 21.8 7.4

All differences between LGBTQ and Heterosexual/Cisgender students are statistically significant, p. < .05.

Download the factsheet

The 2015 MYRBS was conducted in 75 randomly selected public high schools. In total, 3120 students in grades 9 - 12 participated in this voluntary and anonymous survey. Because of the high student and school response rates, the results of this survey can be generalized to apply to public high school students across Massachusetts.

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