The Challenges of Lesbian and Gay Youth Essay

The Challenges of Lesbian and Gay Youth Essay

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The Challenges of Lesbian and Gay Youth
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“The unprecedented growth of the gay community in recent history has transformed our culture and consciousness, creating radically new possibilities for people to ‘come out’ and live more openly as homosexuals”(Herdt 2). Before the 1969 Stonewall riot in New York, homosexuality was a taboo subject. Research concerning homosexuality emphasized the etiology, treatment, and psychological adjustment of homosexuals. Times have changed since 1969. Homosexuals have gained great attention in arts, entertainment, media, and politics. Yesterday’s research on homosexuality has expanded to include trying to understand the different experiences and situations of homosexuals (Ben-Ari 89-90).
Despite the transition, little consideration has been given to understanding the growing population of gay adolescents. 25% of American families are likely to have a gay child (Hidalgo 24); In the United States, three million adolescents are estimated to be homosexual. Yet, American society still ignores gay adolescents. Majority of children are raised in heterosexual families, taught in heterosexual establishments, and put in heterosexual peer groups. Gay adolescents often feel forced by parents to pass as “heterosexually normal” (Herdt 2). As a result, homosexual teens hide their sexual orientation and feelings, especially from their parents. Limited research conducted on gay young adults on disclosure to parents generally suggests that disclosure is a time of familial crisis and emotional distress. Very few researchers argue that disclosure to parents results in happiness, bringing parents and children closer (Ben-Ari 90).
     The debate over homosexuality as nature or nurture dominates most topics about homosexuality. People often confuse the nature/nurture issue with the development of gay identity. In fact, the nature/nurture argument plays a small, insignificant role concerning gay youths (Walling 11). Homosexual identity is the view of the self as homosexual in association with romantic and sexual situations (Troiden 46) Many researchers have either discussed or created several models or theories concerning the development of homosexual identity. However, the most prominent is Troiden’s sociological four-stage model of homosexual identity formation. Dr. Richard R. Troiden desc...

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...Being kicked out from the home is another consequence of rejection by parents (Mallon, Wagon 83). Urban and rural Associate researchers discovered that many young male prostitutes are homosexual, and they are products of their families’ inability to accept their son’s homosexuality (Coleman 136).
     It would be wrong to say that only negative outcomes occur when a child tells his parents he is gay. Many children feel that in order to establish an honest relationship with their parents then they must “come clean” to them. Ben-Ari’s research points out those adolescents who want to be open and honest with their parents receive that after disclosure. Parents are usually accepting after time their child’s sexual preference (107)

     This paper has effort to generally show youths growing up gay. A number of issues have been presented involving gay identity formation, parental interaction, and disclosure. Homosexuality is a very controversial subject. By no mean does this paper try to say that it is “totally correct.” However, the paper does examine logical theoretical ideas of what gay adolescents endure, using and combining research and reports of other gay studies.

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