Pediatricians play a critical role in ensuring the health of LGBTQ+ youths. Although most lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youths are quite resilient and emerge from adolescence as healthy adults, the effects of homophobia and heterosexism can contribute to health disparities. Significant health disparities exist for sexual-minority youths related to depression and suicidality, substance abuse, social anxiety, altered body image, and other mental health issues.
Health disparities also exist in sexual health outcomes with respect to HIV/AIDS, other STIs, and teenage pregnancy among LGBTQ+ youths. Transgender people face alarmingly high rates of verbal harassment and physical violence, including at home and at school. Transgender youths face significant mental health issues as a consequence, including depression and suicidality, anxiety, body image distortion, substance abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
This first-of-its-kind 3-part series includes articles and commentaries on all aspects of LGBTQ+ support and care. Part 1 focuses on combatting homophobia and discrimination, Part 2 on health concerns and disparities faced by LGBTQ+ youths, and Part 3 on caring for transgender children. With appropriate care, sexual-minority youths should live healthy, productive lives while transitioning through adolescence and young adulthood. This series of Pediatric Collections will help pediatricians guide and contribute positively toward that transition.