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LGBT teens 40 pc likelier to be punished than normal teens: Study

December 7, 2010 - Washington

A Yale University research has revealed that lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) adolescents are 40 percent more likely than other teens to be punished by school authorities, police and the courts.

"We found that virtually all types of punishment-including school expulsions, arrests, juvenile convictions, adult convictions and especially police stops-were more frequently meted out to LGB youth," said lead author Kathryn Himmelstein.

The study was based on the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) and included about 15,000 middle and high school students who were followed for seven years into early adulthood.

Himmelstein, a New York City teacher, said that adolescents who identified themselves as LGB were about 50 percent more likely to be stopped by police than other teenagers.

Teens who reported feelings of attraction to members of the same s*x, regardless of their self-identification, were more likely than other teens to be expelled from school or convicted of crimes as adults.

"Girls who labelled themselves as lesbian or bisexual were especially at risk for unequal treatment

"They reported experiencing twice as many police stops, arrests and convictions as other girls who had engaged in similar behavior. Although we did not explore the experiences of transgender youth, anecdotal reports suggest that they are similarly at risk for excessive punishment," said Himmelstein.

The study showed that these disparities in punishments are not explained by differences in the rates of misbehaviour. In fact, the study showed that adolescents who identified themselves as LGB actually engaged in less violence than their peers.

The findings were published in the journal Pediatrics.


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