for National Coming Out Day on Wednesday, a new
four-year study of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and
transgender youths shows that the average age a
teenager comes out is now 13, reports the Fort Lauderdale,
Fla., Sun-Sentinel newspaper.
conducted by clinical social worker Caitlin Ryan of San
Francisco State University, highlights how LGBT youths are
feeling more comfortable coming out at earlier ages
than their older peers did.
With a variety of
books, magazines, and Internet sites geared toward
gay teens, along with television programs like
Degrassi: The Next Generation that feature honest
portrayals of queer youths, and gay-straight alliances in
nearly 10% of high schools nationwide, there are more
options than ever for young gay people to express
have also found that one out of every four teens who
comes out faces family rejection. The Safe Schools Coalition
Web site notes that research done for the FBI in 1998
found that these LGBT teenagers make up 30% to 40% of
the nation's homeless youths and that usually the gay
youths' coming-out conflicts with their families'
moral and religious beliefs.
Even LGBT youths
who don't face rejection at home usually face some at
school. According to the National Mental Health Institute,
the average secondary school student hears an antigay
slur 26 times a day. And 31% of kids who are gay or
are perceived as gay were physically harassed or
assaulted last year at school. (The Advocate)