Chances are, you know a gay teen, are a gay teen, or have a son or daughter who is a gay teen. This is definitely not any kind of new topic or situation, but yet is still not accepted. And even worse, these teenagers have it made very clear to them daily, that it is NOT acceptable.Being accepted, and not rejected is a need that everyone has, whether gay or straight. So why are gay teens treated so horribly? Why does anyone think it is ok to tease, belittle, reject, or even go as far as bullying people because of their sexual orientation?
Is Being Gay a Choice?
Many argue that being gay is a choice. Although, the majority of professionals including the American Psychological Association agree that a person cannot change their sexual orientation. The parents who are trying hard to change their children are causing a great deal of damage to them. The kids who have tried to change, just end up feeling guilty for their feelings, bad about themselves, and a failure for not succeeding in becoming straight. With the challenges, negativity and discrimination that gay people face, why would anyone decide to be gay? Does anyone else decide to be straight? No! It is not a conscious decision to be straight or gay. It is a natural attraction.
Gay Teens & Suicide
It has been reported by The Suicide Prevention Resource Center that an estimated 30% to 40% of homosexual teens attempt suicide. That is up to 4 times higher than heterosexual teens. These teen’s lives have been so difficult and painful due to their treatment and abuse from heterosexuals, they often see no light at the end of the tunnel, and/or have been given the message that they don’t deserve to live. That disgusts me that people are so cruel that they would rather see these kids’ dead, than alive and gay.
Here are some warning signs to watch for:
Ideation (talking about or planning suicide)
If you have questions or need to talk to someone, call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK
Gay Teens & Bullying
Nine states have anti-bullying laws that specifically address bullying and harassment based on sexual orientation.
So, everywhere else it is perfectly legal to harass or tease someone for being gay, but harassing or teasing someone for their religion or the color of their skin is against the law. Does this sound right to you?
Another problem is the lack of concern in the schools. Nine out of ten gay students report being the victim of anti-gay discrimination or bullying. Out of the students that did report a harassment or bullying situation because of their sexuality, about one third of the school staff didn’t do anything to resolve the issue.
Click here to watch a touching video by a gay teen about bullying:
Parents of Gay Teens
Most parents of gay teens are not homosexual, so they have a difficult time trying to accept their child’s sexual orientation. Many parents can look at their children, and see something is different about them, but cannot pinpoint what it is. But since it is so unacceptable to be gay, these kids struggle with how and when to tell their parents, and are scared to death of being rejected by the two people who are supposed to love them unconditionally. So, they spend many years depressed and withdrawn. Some hurt themselves in other ways to dull the pain they feel inside, such as cutting and burning.
All teenagers need support from their parents; especially gay teens because they can’t tell their friends, and feel very alone. Caitlin Ryan, PhD, director of the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University, has done almost a decade of research on gay teens and found that gay kids from families who highly reject their homosexuality, are more than eight times as likely to attempt suicide, almost six times as likely to be clinically depressed, and more than three times as likely to abuse drugs or be at high risk for HIV infection than those from families who are more accepting. Knowing all of this, would rejecting who your child is, based on your own beliefs or feelings about it really be worth it? You don’t need to completely change your thinking about homosexuality to the point of thinking it’s the greatest thing, but you still need to support your teenager.
A Tip for Parents of Gay Teens:
Your time on this earth with your children is short. Instead of wasting that time trying to change who your child is, enjoy the time with them loving them for who they are!