Homosexuality is a topic that can make some people uncomfortable, however it doesn’t condone bullying, teasing and creating fear in those that are openly gay – especially teens. Words can hurt, and the emotional scars can be long lasting.
Teens that are openly gay risk being teased, bullied and treated as an outcast. Sexual orientation in adolescents has previously been linked to increased rate of victimization. A study in the journal Pediatrics showed that those students who identified themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual had a disproportionate risk for problem behaviors, including suicide and victimization.
Gay and Lesbian Community Center of South Florida (GLCCSF) believes everyone has a right to be themselves, to be different, to enjoy self respect and love. The GLCCSF proudly supports all members of the LBGT community.
The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) cautions parents that “gay and lesbian teens can become depressed, socially isolated, withdrawn from activities and friends, have trouble concentrating, and develop low self-esteem. They may also develop depression.” It is important for parents of gay and lesbian teens to understand their teens sexual orientation and provide support. The AACAP encourages parents and family members to seek understanding and support from organizations such as Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).
The American Psychological Association provides these tips for teens who fear they may be a target of violence:
- Above all, be safe. Don’t spend time alone with people who show warning signs of violence, such as those with a history of frequent physical fights, and those who have announced threats or plans for hurting others.
- Tell someone you trust and respect about your concerns and ask for help ( a family member, guidance counselor, teacher, school physiologist, coach, clergy, or friend)
- Get someone to protect you. Do not resort to violence or use a weapon to protect yourself.
Source: Connect with Kids
The Today Show featured a segment on “Teens Coming Out” on the difficulties both parents and teens can face. Watch the video below.
Be an educated parent, you will have safer and healthier teens.