NEW STUDY: Courts And Schools Punish LGBT Teenagers 40% More Frequently

According to a new study published today by Yale researchers, the nation’s courts and schools punish LGBT youth 40% more frequently than their heterosexual peers accused of the same misbehaviors. Lesbian teenagers are especially at risk for discriminatory treatment.

The research, described as the first national look at sexual orientation and teen punishment, comes as a spate of high-profile bullying and suicide cases across the country have focused attention on the sometimes hidden cruelties of teen life. The study, from Yale University, adds another layer, finding substantial disparities between gay and straight teens in school expulsions, arrests, convictions and police stops. The harsher approach is not explained by differences in misconduct, the study says. “The most striking difference was for lesbian and bisexual girls, and they were two to three times as likely as girls with similar behavior to be punished,” said Kathryn Himmelstein, lead author of the study, published in the journal Pediatrics.

Why the punishment gap exists is less clear. It could be that lesbian, gay and bisexual teens who got in trouble didn’t get the same breaks as other teens – say, for youthful age or self-defense, Himmelstein said. Or it could be that girls in particular were punished more often because of discomfort with or bias toward some who don’t fit stereotypes of femininity. “It’s definitely troubling to see such a disparity,” Himmelstein said. “It may very well be not intentional,” she said. “I think most people who work with youth want to do the best they can for young people and treat them fairly, but our findings show that’s not happening.”

The Gay-Straight Alliance responds via press release.

“We hope the study will serve as a wake up call for those whose job it is to protect youth,” said Carolyn Laub, Executive Director of Gay-Straight Alliance Network, a national organization empowering LGBT youth to create safer schools. “These alarming statistics underscore the need for alternatives to punitive school disciplinary practices as well as the need for school, police, and court officials to receive comprehensive training about the serious consequences of targeting LGBT youth, whether the perpetrators are student bullies or the adults themselves.”

UPDATE: The deep thinkers at Free Republic weigh in.

-“40% more likely that they practice their filthy lifestyle in the open.”
-“Different kids tend to be attention whores.”
-“I’ll be homeschooling just to keep these freaks away from my normal kids.”
-“Any CHILD walking around claiming to be LGBT is going to be a Leftist and come from a Leftist/Progressive home. Leftists are consummate troublemakers and problem children.”