The LGBT Health & Development Program

A Snapshot of LGBT Youth in Chicago

Posted on July 11th, 2012 by Antonia in Research Blog, Youth Blog. No Comments

At IMPACT, we are driven by the idea that research and information about the health of our communities makes change—change in policy, funding, and opinions. To that end, we wanted to get the word out on what our research has to say about LGBT youth in Chicago.

During Pride Weekend 2012 we unveiled a “Snapshot” of Project Q2, one of IMPACT’s ongoing research projects. Project Q2 is the longest running longitudinal study of LGBT youth ever conducted.  In the colorful document attached below, we present a profile of the 241 LGBT youth in Project Q2 at baseline (2007-2008), including a look at their sexual, mental, and physical health. These youth were between the ages of 16 and 20 years at enrollment and are now participating in our 8th wave of interviews 4 years later. The statistics below are based on responses from these young people, but we believe these data contribute to what we know about the experiences of young LBGT people across Chicago, and beyond!

The map presented shows that participants live in nearly every zip code in Chicago—and 25 live in zip codes outside of Chicago. A darker purple color on the map means that a higher number of participants came from that area.

Participants in Project Q2 identify in many different ways. In terms of gender, 42% identified as male, 49% identified as female, and 9% identified as transgender. Many different sexual orientations are also represented, with 59% of the sample identifying as gay or lesbian, 28% bisexual, and 10% Questioning/Other. Over half (57%) of participants are African American, while 14% are Caucasian, 11% are Latino, and 18% are Other/Multiracial. Project Q2 respondents reflect the diversity of the local LGBT community.

In asking about the sexual health of Project Q2 participants, we found that 75% of males reported using a condom at their last sexual encounter—an important factor in preventing STDs. Project Q2 examines a variety of sexual health topics including condom use, HIV risk, and relationship factors. (See our past publications on Internet usage!)


We also ask participants about their experiences with violence. An alarming 88% of participants reported experiencing some form of victimization simply for being LGBT.  Other findings related to violence are presented in the brief report.

While many times research focuses on risks and negative outcomes, IMPACT highlights how many of our participants are doing very well. In fact, 79% stated they can talk to their friends about their problems, and almost half (44%) stated they receive the emotional support and help they need from their family. One definitive finding from Project Q2 is that LGBT youth are resilient.

Download the full report here: LGBT Youth in Chicago: A Snapshot

To learn more about Project Q2, make sure to check out our Research Page. For more infographics, statistics, and Project Q2 news, stay tuned to the IMPACT blog!

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