- Views & Opinions
A post-election survey of youths found 70 percent witnessed bullying, hate messages or harassment, with racial bias the most common motive cited.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization, released the online survey of 50,000 young people on Jan. 18.
More than a quarter of LGBTQ youth said they have been personally bullied or harassed since Election Day — compared to 14 percent of non-LGBTQ youth — with transgender young people most frequently targeted.
Additionally, Hispanic and Latinx respondents were 20 percent more likely than other youth to report having been personally bullied, with harassment targeting both immigrant and nonimmigrant communities.
“Whether the threats come in their schools or from those holding the country’s highest offices, no young person should be bullied or made to feel unsafe,” HRC president Chad Griffin said in a news release. “The alarming results of this groundbreaking survey underscore our fears about the damaging effect the recent election is having on our nation’s youth, and serve as a call to action to all of us committed to helping our young people thrive in an inclusive and supportive society.”
Young people reported feeling nervous and hopeless after the election, with almost half of LGBTQ youth saying they have taken steps to hide who they are by delaying coming out, dressing differently or questioning their plans for the future.
Hispanic and African American young people also reported changing their appearances and routines out of fear of harassment and Muslim, Jewish and Hindu youth all described concealing symbols of their faith to avoid being targeted.
In responses to open-ended questions on the survey, many young people shared stories of how campaign rhetoric encouraged harassment and bullying.
Wrote one Hispanic 18-year-old from Illinois: “My family and I go shopping and wash clothes at 2 a.m. to avoid seeing and hearing people’s comments.”
● 70 percent of respondents reported witnessing bullying, hate messages or harassment during or since the 2016 election.
Of those, 79 percent said such behaviors have been occurring more frequently since the onset of the presidential campaign.
● Among young people who reported seeing bullying and harassment, 70 percent witnessed incidents motivated by race or ethnicity, 63 percent saw incidents motivated by sexual orientation, 59 percent saw incidents motivated by immigration status and 55 percent witnessed incidents motivated by gender.
● Over the past 30 days, about half of transgender youth reported feeling hopeless and worthless most or all of the time and 70 percent said these and similar feelings have increased in the past 30 days.
About 36 percent were personally bullied or harassed and 56 percent changed their self-expression or future plans because of the election.
● Before Election Day 2016, more than half of survey respondents reported thinking about the election every day and a third thought about it several times each week.
Respondents were solicited through HRC’s social media channels and other organizations, including Mental Health America, the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Southern Poverty Law Center, True Colors Fund and The Trevor Project.