Overwhelming number of young queer people have no contact with homophobic relatives

LGBTQ+ progress flags wave in an American street.

Almost half of LGBTQ+ young adults the UK are estranged from at least one relative, with many feeling their family won’t accept them if they come out, a study has revealed. 

The survey of 3,695 adults, aged between 18 and 25, found that 46 per cent of them are estranged from at least one family member, while 31 per cent said they weren’t confident their parent or guardian will accept them as they are. 

Further findings, according to research conducted by LGBT+ young people’s charity, Just Like Us, revealed that 14 per cent of young LGBT+ adults said they weren’t close to their immediate family members, compared with six per cent of their straight peers. That figure jumped to 19 per cent for trans respondents and 23 per cent of non-binary participants. 

The survey also discovered that lesbians were the most confident (72 per cent) that their parents or carers would accept them if they came out, followed by gay men at 68 per cent, while transgender and non-binary young people were equally the least likely to feel confident.

‘When there is silence, there is shame’

Amy Ashenden, the interim chief executive of Just Like Us, said the findings were “heartbreaking”. 

“It’s sadly a common myth that being LGBT+ is easier today, when in fact many LGBT+ young adults remain fearful of their parents not accepting them, with almost half estranged from at least one family member,” she said.

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Ashenden added that the LGBTQ+ community should know “that their identities are valid and deserve to be celebrated”, and that the charity hoped more parents and teachers will show them that this is the case.

“When there is silence, there is shame, so we must talk about these topics in school and at home, to ensure LGBT+ young people no longer live in fear of rejection.”

The research was carried out independently by market researchers Cibyl in January and will form part of Just Like Us’ Positive Futures report, covering a range of experiences of young LGBT+ adults in the UK, due to be published on 1 June.

At the beginning of the year, a study by The Trevor Project found 87 per cent of some 34,000 LGBTQ+ young people are dissatisfied with their bodies.

Another study, published in the Annals of Epidemiology, revealed that LGBTQ+ youth in the US are spending significantly more time on their mobile phones than straight young people.

The study’s author, Jason Nagata, suggested that this could be down to higher levels of LGBTQ+ youth being excluded from school activities by their peers.