LGBT Health: Youth

Five teens sitting on a fence with arms around each other

Adolescence is a time of growth and change that prepares young people to take on additional responsibilities associated with adulthood. This period, from about 12 to 24 years of age, is marked by social and cognitive growth as well as puberty and other physical changes. While adolescence can bring about exciting self-discovery, it can also be accompanied by difficult exploration of identity. For LGBT youth, experiencing stigma can compound the challenges associated with adolescence.

Because adolescents tend to be physically healthy, much of adolescent health care is focused on social and behavioral health issues and on helping adolescents adapt to changes in their bodies. While LGBT youth have many of the same medical and developmental concerns as their non-LGBT peers, they also experience some unique concerns. In Wisconsin, LGBT youth have higher rates of suicide attempts, smoking, and initiation of sex at an early age compared to their non-LGBT peers. Youth who engage in same-sex sexual contact are more than three times as likely to attempt suicide and twice as likely to smoke daily compared to youth engaging in only opposite-sex contact.

The following selection of resources is intended to increase awareness of health issues and disparities affecting LGBT youth. Use the left-side navigation bar to learn more about any of the health concerns addressed below.

General Resources

Health Risks Among Sexual Minority Youth
Description: Summary of reports of health outcomes, risks, and disparities among sexual minority youth.
Resource availability: Internet

LGBT Health and Development Program
Description: LGBT health and related topics for youth, sponsored by Northwestern University.
Resource availability: Internet

LGBT youth health information
CDC's webpage on general LGBT youth health information.
Resource availability: Internet

LGBT of SE Wisconsin Wisconsin resource
Description: Programs, including tobacco cessation, scholarships, and resources.
Resource availability: Southeast Wisconsin

Q2—Chippewa Valley LGBTQ Youth Group Wisconsin resource
Description: Chippewa Valley based LGBTQ youth group for anyone aged 12-18 who identifies as LGBTQ or as an ally. Q2 provides a safe environment to talk about all things LGBTQ and an opportunity to meet other LGBTQ youth from the area.
Resource availability: Eau Claire

Youth Resources
Description: Uses peer educators to educate LGBT youth about a range of health issues, from HIV to substance abuse.
Resource availability: Internet

See all General Resources

Alcohol And Drugs

Alcohol addiction
Symptoms of alcohol addiction and statistics about alcohol use among LGBT people, published by the Pride Institute.
Resource availability: Minneapolis, Minnesota; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Internet

Drug use
Symptoms of drug abuse and statistics about drug use among LGBT people, published by the Pride Institute.
Resource availability: Minneapolis, Minnesota; Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Pride Institute
LGBT drug and alcohol addiction treatment center.
Resource availability: Minneapolis, Minnesota; Fort Lauderdale, Florida


Cancer facts for gay and bisexual men
Information on risk, prevention, and detection of lung, skin, prostate, colon, anal, and testicular cancers among gay and bisexual men; published by the American Cancer Society.
Resource availability: Internet

Cancer facts for lesbian and bisexual women
Information on risk, prevention, and detection of lung, skin, colon, breast, and gynecological cancers among lesbian and bisexual women; published by the American Cancer Society.
Resource availability: Internet

National LGBT Cancer Network
Information on population-specific cancer risks, optional electronic screening reminder.
Resource availability: Internet


AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin Wisconsin resource
Description: Medical center, social services, and prevention programs.
Resource availability: Wisconsin

Mental Health

Anxiety disorders and Depression in LGBT populations
Information on anxiety disorders and depression in LGBT populations, published by the Pride Institute.
Resource availability: Minneapolis, Minnesota, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and internet

Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
Description: Free 24/7 service that provides care and support to people experiencing stressful situations—whether that is thoughts of suicide, a mental health concern, or a substance use issue. It is available 24/7. 
Resource availability: Call or text 988

The Trevor Project
Description: The Trevor Project is a leading national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among LGBTQ youth.
Resource availability: Internet and toll-free hotline: 1-866-488-7386

Sexual Health

General STD information
The CDC's webpage about STDs, including a testing site locator, statistics, and treatment guidelines.
Resource availability: Internet

STI and HIV Testing in Youth
Information provided by a peer educator about the emotional, logistical, and legal aspects of HIV and STD testing in youth, published by Youth Resources.
Resource availability: Internet


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Tips from Former Smokers
Real stories of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people who are suffering from smoking-related diseases and disabilities.
Resource availability: Internet
Description: The National Cancer Institute created to help you or someone you care about quit smoking.
Resource availability: Internet

Truth Initiative
Fact sheet on tobacco use in LGBT communities.
Resource availability: Internet


Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools Wisconsin resource
Description: Leadership development for youth and skill development for GSA advisors and other secondary school educators.
Resource availability: South Central Wisconsin, Internet

Northwest Network
Description: LGBT information and support regarding abuse and violence (based in Seattle, Washington).
Resource availability: Internet
Description: Information from various government agencies on how kids, teens, young adults, parents, educators and others in the community can prevent or stop bullying.
Resource availability: Internet

Last Revised: August 4, 2022