Mitchell Reports | June 18, 2012
>>> the numbers are in and lgbt teens in the country described a life of discrimination and hardship. it is heartbreaking. according to this survey by the human rights campaign , more than half of lgbt youth have been verbally harassed, one-third of them say their families are not accepting of them, and 92% say they hear negative messages about themselves with 60% saying they hear it from elected officials . chad griffin is the new president of the human rights campaign and an old friend of ours from the clinton years. great to see you back in washington.
>> thank you. great to be here.
>> tell me about the survey. you've been on the road, talking to young people , men and women who are caught in these negative responses, and so much has changed in the country and we've got the president now endorsing gay marriage , but there still is so much negative feedback .
>> yeah. there's no question. this was a survey of over 10,000 lgbt young people across this country in every single state, and what it shows is that over 50% of our youth are bullied and harassed at school. many of them at home. a majority aren't comfortable being open as to who they are in front of their parents. and there are real life consequences to that kind of discrimination. when we were growing up, our teachers, our principals, those are the people who were supposed to protect us and look out for us, and in too many cases, they're not. you mentioned the numbers as it relates to our elected officials . over 60% of our lgbt young people hear negative messages from their elected officials . their mayors, senators, members of congress, the people who should be their mentors that they look up to.
>> is there any way looking at the survey, is this more in small towns, is it in rural america , or is it widespread?
>> it's really widespread across the country. you can certainly look at the data and it's worse in more rural areas . i was recently last week in utah and in arkansas . the numbers there compared to the national average are certainly worse. but it really is across the board. it also shows that compared to their lgbt teenagers compared to their straight peers, their worries are completely different. straight young person in junior high or high school is worried about their test scores , graduating from high school , getting into college. the top concerns and stresses of an lgbt young person , being bullied at school, not being accepted at home, not being accepted in their places of worship . quite a contrast.
>> so we have no idea how this affects them not only emotionally but their ability to compete, to get through their test scores and apply to colleges. it affects them at every step of the way.
>> there is no question. and it's both at school and at home and the achurch and on the streets. so it's not just laws we have to change, it's we have to really increase the dialogue with parents and with our religious leaders and with community leaders because the impacts really in some cases can be tragic, the stresses this puts on our young people .
>> chad, you mentioned going to arkansas and we first met in arkansas when you were with the clinton team in '92. you grew up in hope, arkansas . so you know this firsthand what it's like to be in a small town and be closeted.
>> indeed. i went to high school in arkansas , had the privilege of just visiting arkadelphia last week on my first day on the job where i was greeted by community leaders and school leaders and it was really heartening to see so much support there. i know what it's like to feel isolated and to fear acknowledging who you are to your friends and your family. i'm very lucky now that i have a supportive friend group, an amazing family, but too many young people don't across this country. it's those youth that motivate me and motivate all of us at human rights campaign . our goal should be to improve the lives of those young people . they are our future.
>> well, you do it every day and we are so happy to see you. you're the new head of the human rights campaign and lots of luck.
>> it's a real pleasure to be here. thank you, andrea.