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Gay Youth: The Straight Facts

For most people, adolescence is a difficult time of life filled with pressure from peers, parents, and school. For gay, lesbian, and bisexual teens, however, the stress of this period multiplies, especially for those living in societies which refuse to accept them.

Statistics on gay youth illustrate some of the pain and isolation they face. Because many are rejected or disowned1 by their families, gay and lesbian teens make up 42 percent of the homeless youth in America. They also attempt suicide at a rate two to three times higher than that of their heterosexual counterparts, and are at greater risk for drug and alcohol abuse.

Beyond an often hostile home environment, gay youth also lack allies2 and avenues for support at school. One study indicates that 97 percent of non-heterosexual youth reported hearing homophobic3 taunts at school, while roughly 22 percent said they have been threatened with physical violence because of their sexual orientation.

Attitudes may change, however, as schools are beginning to recognize such prejudice as a health and safety issue. Schools are searching for ways to ameliorate4 the situation, including setting up gay-straight alliance clubs and cracking down on harassment. At the same time, many nonprofit groups are reaching out to provide services to gay and lesbian teens. The support that such youth need the most, however, is that of their families and friends.


对大多数人来说,青春期是人生一段难熬的时期,充满来自同辈、父母和学校的压力。然而,对于同性恋和双性恋的青少年来说,这个阶段的压力更是倍增,尤其是那些身处不肯接纳他们的社会中的青少年。

统计数据表明了年轻同性恋者所面临的痛苦和孤独。由于许多同性恋者遭到家人的鄙弃甚至断绝关系,美国无家可归的年轻人中,男/女同性恋青少年就占了百分之四十二。他们企图自杀的比率也比同龄的异性恋者高出二至三倍,吸毒和酗酒的危险性也比较大。

除了有敌意的家庭环境外,年轻同性恋者在学校也缺乏伙伴,也找不到寻求支持的途径。一项研究指出,百分之九十七非异性恋的年轻人曾在学校听到有关厌恶同性恋的辱骂,同时,约有百分之二十二的人表示曾因为他们的性取向而受到暴力威胁。

不过,以上那些对待同性恋青少年的态度是有可能改变的,因为一些学校已经开始认识到这样的偏见是关系到健康和安全的问题。学校正在寻找改善这种状况的途径,包括成立同性恋—异性恋联合社团,并对骚扰采取严厉措施。同时,许多公益团体出面为男/女同性恋青少年提供服务。然而,同性恋青年最需要的是来自家庭和朋友的支持。

 
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