More than half of LGBTQ youth diagnosed with eating disorders

A survey of American LGBTQ youth has found that a majority of those questioned have been diagnosed with an eating disorder.

Even more shocking, half of the LGBTQ youth surveyed who have not been diagnosed suspect they have an eating disorder.

The disturbing results were part of a new national survey, designed to better understand how LGBTQ youth are affected by eating disorders, and was conducted by The Trevor Project, the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) and Reasons Eating Disorder Center.

The results illustrate the need for increased support for this community, say the groups. Of the LGBTQ youth surveyed, 54% of the participants indicated that they had already been diagnosed with an eating disorder. Of those diagnosed with an eating disorder, 88% have considered suicide.

“We were stunned by these results,” said Amit Paley, The Trevor Project’s CEO and Executive Director. “We need to do far more to help the alarming number of LGBTQ youth living with eating disorders and struggling with thoughts of suicide.”

The first-of-its-kind survey includes a sample of 1,305 self-identified LGBTQ youth ages 13 to 24 from across the US. The report shows:

  • 54% of LGBTQ youth respondents reported having been diagnosed with an eating disorder compared to 5% of the heterosexual peers.
  • Trans youth who identify as straight are the most at risk, with 71% of those having been diagnosed with an eating disorder, anorexia being the most common.
  • There is a dangerous overlap in the consideration of suicide and eating disorders, with 58% of LGBTQ youth respondents who have been diagnosed with an eating disorder having considered suicide.

“The results make it clear that troubling numbers of LGBTQ youth are affected by eating disorders and self-harm,” said Claire Mysko, CEO of NEDA. “It’s time to get real about these issues and ensure that everyone has access to the support they deserve.”

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