LGBT: Gay Teen Males Sociocultural Factors
LGBT teens may experience anxiety, physical violence, and psychological distress which are associated with bullying at school and can contribute to depression and distress, often resulting in suicidal ideation (Dorais & Lajeunesse, 2004). The stress of societal stigmatization makes gay and lesbian youths particularly vulnerable to psychological problems such as chronic depression, substance abuse, school failure, and relationship conflicts (Mallon, 1992). Young men who are gay have difficulty developing intimate relationships as fear of rejection and discrimination deter them from trying. Therefore, risky sexual experimentation with strangers can occur putting them at risk for health problems and violence (Dorais & Lajeunesse, 2004). Close friendships are hard to come by; this is especially true when attempting to form relationships with other males (Dorais & Lajeunesse, 2004). There is a misconception that the LGBT population has a choice in their sexual orientation.
Teenagers, regardless of sexual orientation, rely on caregivers for support as they are not yet adults. This dependence can lead to dire outcomes if parental support is lacking because often they are kicked out of their home without the means to take care of themselves. This leads to an increased risk for homelessness and engagement in prostitution (Dorais & Lajeunesse, 2004). Young gay men drop out of school and do not attend college. This prevents them from receiving the education and degrees often associated with higher paying positions. In fact, some jobs will not higher those who have not completed high school or attended college (Dorais & Lajeunesse, 2004).
Gay males come from all different cultures, religions, and ethnicities. One study indicated Latino families in the United States were less accepting of gay teen males than Caucasian families (Ryan, Huebner, Diaz, and Sanchez, 2009). Higher rates of family rejection are significantly associated with poorer health outcomes (Ryan, Huebner, Diaz, & Sanchez, 2009).
The lifestyle choices of this population are often determined by their support systems and available resources. With family and social support they often are able to live normal lives; however, when support is lacking they may choose to socially isolate themselves and/or chose to engage in destructive behaviors. *Beliefs Gay teens feel that sexual orientation is an innate characteristic, much like being right-handed or left-handed. Many individuals know they are gay even before they hit puberty. Being gay is “normal.” Gay teens who attend religious organizations that view being gay as morally wrong or evil may feel that their sexual orientation is a sin and thus try to deny it. They may have unresolvable internal conflicts and may feel wicked and condemned to hell thereby attempting suicide becomes an option due to beliefs of never obtaining redemption. Gay teens tend to be more liberal than conservative. They deserve equal human rights. *Values Gay teens, like most teens, value their family and friends. They also value those to whom they can confide in such as teachers and community groups. Gay teens value their freedom of speech, right to privacy, and the laws that protect them. *Customary Practices All LGBT go through the coming out process; however, it occurs differently based on the nature of each person. *It is hard to discuss the experiences of LGBT individuals as a collective whole because the experiences are so diverse. Resources B Child. (2012, June 25). Preventing the tragedy of LGBT youth homelessness. Retrieved from http://socialworklicensemap.com/lgbtyouth-homelessness/ Dorais, M., & Lajeunesse, S. L. (2004). Dead boys can’t dance. Quebec, Canada: McGill-Queen’s University Press. (Dorais & Lajeunesse, 2004). Hatzenbuehler M., McLaughlin, & K. Xuan, Z. (2012). Social networks and risk for depressive symptoms in a national sample of sexual minority youth. Social Science & Medicine, 75, 1184-1191. Needham, B. L., & Austn, E. L. (2010). Sexual orientation, parental support, and health during the transition to young adulthood. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 39, 1189-1198. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10964-010-9533-6 Ryan, C., Huebner, D., Diaz, R.A., Sanchez, J.(2009). Family rejection as a predictor of negative health outcomes in white and latino lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adults. Official Journal the American Academy of Pediatrics, 123, 346-352. doi: 10.1542/peds.20073524 Swearer, S., Turner, R., Givens, J., & Pollack, W. (2008). "You're so gay!": Do different forms of bullying matter for adolescent males?. School Psychology Review, 37(2), 160-173. Whitbeck, L.B., Chen, X., Hoyt, D., Tyler, K., Johnson, K. (2004). Mental Disorder, Subsistence Strategies, and Victimization among Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Homeless and Runaway Adolescents. Sociology Department, Faculty Publications. Paper 53. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1058&context=sociologyfacpub