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Health inequalities among sexual minority youth: a need for sexual orientation and gender expression sensitive school environment
  1. Hirut T Gebrekristos
  1. Correspondence to Professor Hirut T Gebrekristos, Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine Tulane University 1440 Canal street, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA; hgebrekr{at}tulane.edu

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Sexual minority youth bear a disproportionate burden of HIV, other sexually transmitted infections, depression, suicide, homelessness and substance abuse compared with heterosexual youth.1–5 The term, ‘sexual minority youth’, has been used in the literature to refer to bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, queer and questioning youth. Without dissolving the distinction and diversity among and within the various groups that make up sexual minority youth, it is also important to acknowledge some similarities that may promote the health inequalities. Discrimination, stigma, rejection and violence characterise the lives of sexual minority youth. This editorial will summarise the current state of interventions for sexual minority youth with a particular focus on school-based programmes. The discussion will also highlight the importance of political support in establishing sexual orientation and gender sensitive school environments and outline lessons learnt from existing programmes.

Adolescence is a challenging transition for all youth. However, sexual minority youth face additional obstacles from an often hostile social environment. The most current National School Climate Survey provides a glimpse into the hostile school context present in secondary schools in the USA.6 A sample of 7261 sexual minority …

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