Out Online: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth on the Internet

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-Full report-

Author(s): The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network

  • Neal A. Palmer, Ph.D.
  • Joseph G. Kosciw, Ph.D.
  • Emily A. Greytak, Ph.D.
  • Michele L. Ybarra, Ph.D.
  • Josephine Korchmaros, Ph.D.
  • Kimberly J. Mitchell, Ph.D.

Published: July 10th, 2013in partnership with:


Report Intro/Brief:
"Youth growing up today are unlikely to remember a time before the Internet. For many of them, the Internet may not even seem separate from everyday life, as it felt during the initial years of its development. Although reflection on generational change is an enduring pastime for adults, the prevalence and pervasiveness of new technologies — and the speed at which they are incorporated into our everyday lives — really do mark a fundamental transformation in the adolescent experience. For lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth, who experience stigma and disproportionate harassment in school, these new technologies offer both benefits and risks. Out Online: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth on the Internet provides an in-depth account of how LGBT young people navigate a space that can be both a critical lifeline and a site of vulnerability.

Out Online is the latest chapter in GLSEN’s growing body of research into the experiences of LGBT students, expanding our collective understanding beyond the boundaries of classrooms and hallways and the confines of the school day. For more than a decade, GLSEN has documented the high rates of bullying, harassment and bias that LGBT youth experience in school settings. Unfortunately, while the Internet has transformed the lives of LGBT youth — and youth in general—in a number of ways, it has merely reinforced and intensified these common experiences. Taunts like “fag” and “dyke” haunt LGBT youth on their Facebook pages and email inboxes once school is out, just as they echo at school throughout the day. As we have observed for more than a decade with school-based victimization, Out Online reveals that online and text message-based bullying and harassment are also associated with poorer academic performance and psychological health."
-from the preface