Body Image
2 min read

A new study surveying over 33,000 LGBTQ+ youth has shown that an alarming 87% are dissatisfied with their bodies and how they appear.

The research done by The Trevor Project found that 87% of the 33,993 LGBTQ+ youth who took part in the survey after being recruited via targeted ads on social media were dissatisfied with their bodies.

To assess body satisfaction, youth were asked, “During the past 12 months, how satisfied have you been with the way your body looks?” Response options included: 1 Very dissatisfied; 2 Dissatisfied; 3 Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied; 4 Satisfied; and, 5 Very satisfied.


Respondents who selected “Satisfied” or “Very satisfied” were coded as “Satisfied,” and those that selected “Very dissatisfied,” “Dissatisfied,” or “Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied” were coded as “Dissatisfied” with their body.

Youth who selected “Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied” were included in the “Dissatisfied” category because they did not specifically report being satisfied with their body.

Youth who identified as transgender or nonbinary and selected either being “Very dissatisfied” or “Dissatisfied” were asked a follow-up question: “To what extent are your feelings about your body related to the difference in your gender and sex assigned at birth?” Response options included: 1 Not at all; 2 A little bit; 3 Somewhat; and, 4 To a great extent.

Those who selected anything other than “Not at all” were coded as having reported that their body dissatisfaction was related to the difference between their gender identity and assigned sex at birth (i.e, gender-related body dissatisfaction).

The new study also highlighted the concerning number of individuals who revealed dissatisfaction with their bodies were significantly more likely to have attempted suicide – with 48% saying they had attempted suicide in the past year, and 61% reporting incidents of self-harm.

The data indicated that 88% of 13 to 17-year-old LGBTQ+ youth reported disliking their bodies, compared to 84% of 18 to 24-year-olds.

Speaking about the study, the director of research science, Myeshia Price, explained how society and social media are likely to blame for many LGBTQ+ youth feeling inadequate physically.

“These findings underscore that an overwhelming majority of LGBTQ youth struggle with body dissatisfaction, something that can severely impact their mental health and contribute to higher odds of attempting suicide,” Price explained.

“As LGBTQ youth consume media and messages related to health and physical fitness – especially during this time of year, in relation to New Year’s resolutions – we must do a better job of centering body acceptance and healthy lifestyles rather than encouraging young people to achieve a certain physical appearance.”


  • OUTLine NZ(external link) – 0800 688 5463 (0800 OUTLINE)
    (for sexuality or gender identity issues; 9 am to 9 pm on weekdays, and 6 pm to 8 pm on weekends).
  • Need to talk? (1737 – free call or text)
  • The Depression Helpline (0800 111 757)
  • Healthline (0800 611 116)
  • Lifeline (0800 543 354)
  • Samaritans (0800 726 666)
  • Youthline (0800 376 633)
  • Alcohol Drug Helpline (0800 787 797)

Last Updated on Feb 1, 2023

The news team for Gay Nation love tips from our readers. Got tips or a news story that you would like published? Go here to tell us something.
Visit the Gay Nation store Now