Nearly nine in 10 young LGBTQ+ people unhappy with their body, eye-opening study finds

Young LGBTQ+ people

A new study suggests most young LGBTQ+ people are hugely dissatisfied with their bodies.

Some 34,000 LGBTQ+ young people took part in the LGBTQ Youth and Body Dissatisfaction study by The Trevor Project, which found 87 per cent are dissatisfied with their bodies.

Alarmingly, the new study revealed those who reported body dissatisfaction were significantly more likely to have attempted suicide – 48 per cent in the past year, with 61 per cent reporting incidents of self-harm.

Depression symptoms, according to the results, corresponded with those who were dissatisfied.

The study also found trans and non-binary people’s dissatisfaction was likely to be higher than other queer people.

Breaking down the data by age, 88 per cent of 13 to 17-year-old LGBTQ+ youth reported disliking their bodies, compared to 84 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds.

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In response to the findings, director of research science, Myeshia Price, warns society is to blame for young people’s wishes to be physically perfect.

“These findings underscore that an overwhelming majority of LGBTQ youth struggle with body dissatisfaction, something that can severely impact their mental health and contribute to higher odds of attempting suicide,” Price said.

“As LGBTQ youth consume media and messages related to health and physical fitness – especially during this time of year, in relation to New Year’s resolutions – we must do a better job of centering body acceptance and healthy lifestyles rather than encouraging young people to achieve a certain physical appearance.”

She also called on professionals working with young, queer people to discuss the impact body image may have on their wellbeing.

Gender-affirming care reportedly improved body satisfaction

The study goes on to note research showing gender-affirming care has a positive result in non-binary and trans people.

Previous research has repeatedly shown the positives of gender-affirming care.

A study by the New England Journal of Medicine in the US evaluated 315 transgender youths between 12 and 20 years old, with the average participant being 16. It followed the young trans people for two years while they were treated with life-changing hormone therapy.

The research findings, published in January 2023, showed participants reported an increase in positive emotions, life satisfaction and improved self-confidence.

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