January 18, 2021 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Non-religious LGBTQ Youth Face More Discrimination Than Cis, Straight Peers

A report from the American Atheists and the Secular Student Alliance, called The Tipping Point Generation: America’s Nonreligious Youth, found that nonreligious LGBTQ 18-24 years olds face more discrimination than nonreligious cis, straight youth.

The report draws on survey responses from nearly 34,000 nonreligious participants ages 18 and above. 

The Tipping Point Generation report found that LGBTQ youth participants encountered a higher level of family rejection than other youth. LGBTQ youth were more likely to say their families are somewhat or very unsupportive (40.4%) of their nonreligious identity compared to heterosexual, cisgender youth (34.9%).

Increased family rejection correlated with decreased mental health. Youth participants with very unsupportive parents were 45.4% more likely to screen positive for depression than those with very supportive parents, and they scored 9.7% higher on loneliness. Overall, LGBTQ youth participants experienced 9.3% more stigma than cisgender and heterosexual nonreligious youth, who already experience a heightened level of stigma.

Among multiple policy recommendations, The Tipping Point Generation report urges states, school districts, educational institutions, and advocates to work to prevent and repeal any school voucher programs that redirect funds to discriminatory private and religious schools. Voucher programs harm public schools and have a disproportionate negative impact on students that more often face religion-based discrimination, including LGBTQ youth, religious minority youth, and nonreligious youth. 86.7% of youth participants identified maintaining secular public schools as a “very important” priority.

“With nearly half of LGBTQ Americans religiously unaffiliated, as well as the shared goal of ensuring equality, LGBTQ and secular organizations and activists need to strengthen cooperation. LGBTQ youth, religious minorities, and nonreligious youth have increasingly been the target of the same Christian nationalism and religious-based institutionalized discrimination for several decades. Together, we are stronger,” said Kevin Bolling, Executive Director of the Secular Student Alliance, who identifies as gay.

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