According to a study conducted by the Children's Hospital Boston, approximately 25 percent of gay teens in Massachusetts have no place to call home. They're not necessarily living on the street. In this case, "homeless" means the students have no permanent address -- they could be staying with friends or extended family. But the lack of a stable home can negatively affect a student's performance in school, and makes dropping out more likely. The study is summarized in this release from the hospital:
Roughly 1 in 4 lesbian or gay teens and 15 percent of bisexual teens are homeless, versus 3 percent of exclusively heterosexual teens, finds a Children's Hospital Boston study of more than 6,300 Massachusetts public high school students. Moreover, among teens who were homeless, those who were gay, lesbian or bisexual (GLB) were consistently more likely than heterosexuals to be on their own, unaccompanied by a parent or guardian.
The study, published online July 21 by the American Journal of Public Health, is the first to quantify the risk of homelessness among teens of different sexual orientations with population-based data. "Prior studies in homeless street youth have found that sexual minorities occur in much higher numbers than we'd expect based on their numbers in the community in general," says Heather Corliss, PhD, MPH, of the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at Children's, the study's first author. "This study looked at the magnitude of the difference for the first time."
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