By Dr. Mallika Marshall, WBZ-TVBy Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – Kids are being targeted for their sexual identity, and a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine unveils some surprising trends.

Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital found that boys and girls who identify as sexual minorities, like gay, lesbian, or bisexual, are more likely to be bullied and victimized by their peers.

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The study found that these children are not only targeted by the time they reach tenth grade but also as early as fifth grade.

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That’s as young as 10 to 11 years old, an age when you would think that kids aren’t that aware of their own sexual identity, much less their peers.’

The researchers say that bullying can not only lead to physical injury but also anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, suicidal thoughts, and poor school performance and that bullying based on sexual identity can be particularly harmful.

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For more information, watch a video provided by Boston Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Mallika Marshall