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Gay And Lesbian Youth. Essay

2622 words - 10 pages

Gay and Lesbian YouthIntroductionLiving in fear. That is the statement of 65% of gay and lesbian adolescents today. Attending high school as a gay or lesbian is like going to war. There is always the possibility of physical and mental abuse. Not only do these teens have to endure abuse at school, they also need to deal with abuse at home. According to statistics reported by Remafedi (1987), 50% of gay/lesbian teens reported rejection and abuse by family. Being a teenager whether gay or straight is a confusing time. In most respects youths with same-sex attractions are similar to all youths, independent of sexual desire. That is, an adolescent is an adolescent. Regardless of sexual orientation youths need the love and respect of parents, must negotiate their on-going relationship as they move toward adulthood, are concerned with peer status, desire love and sex, and wonder about their future. These are adolescent tasks that, although affected by sexual orientation, are confronted by all youths (R.C. Savin-Williams, 2001). The need of feeling accepted is overwhelming. There are often moments of despair, however most teenagers find ways of coping with stress. Peer and parental support is key to developing healthy coping methods. Gay and lesbian adolescents don't always have those support venues. They often resort to substance abuse, and in extreme cases, suicide. Unfortunately, according to Shifrin & Solis (1992), the use of illicit drugs is a main factor implicated in the suicide attempts among gay and lesbian youth. The following paper will discuss the various stressors in a gay or lesbian adolescent's life.It will also address substance abuse and suicidal tendencies. Homosexual adolescents are more likely to suffer from mental and physical health problems. This theory will be supported in the following paper.Stressors Associated with Gay/Lesbian YouthGetting up in the morning, getting dressed, and going to school is the life for millions of teenagers in North America. Although this routine is standard for high school students, gay and lesbian adolescents are often dealing with so many more issues than their heterosexual peers. The simple task of going to school can become a horrendously stressful event. Lesbian, and gay adolescents face tremendous challenges to growing up physically and mentally healthy in a culture that is almost uniformly anti-homosexual. Often, these youth face an increased risk of medical and psychosocial problems, caused not by their sexual orientation, but by society's extremely negative reaction to it. Gay and lesbian youth face rejection, isolation, verbal harassment and physical violence at home, in school, and in religious institutions. Gay and lesbian adolescents experience unique stressors in their lives that are directly related to their sexual behavior and identity (Savin-Williams, 1994). For example, the major problems reported by 60 gay and lesbian youths ages 16 to 22 years, were their perceived need to keep...

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