Sunday, November 11, 2007

Youth Comfortable with Sexual Identity

All right! The gender identity future here and elsewhere increasingly looks less judgmental and more positive. The kids are okay.

Click over to this morning's Boston Globe maggy for Alison Lobron's Easy Out. High school youth and those who know and work with them speak of their comfort with knowing homosexuals or being them. It is an excellent treatment of how the post-baby boom folk are likely to dispense with the fears and fetishes that dominate so much of gender identity today.

My two teens a home (9th and 12th grades) seem to have similar attitudes to many of their cohorts. Gay? Same-sex marriages? What's the big deal — those are just the realities of some of us.

Perhaps equally positive to the youth feeling comfortable coming to terms with their sexual identities is that this attitude permeates their schools and social environments. I certainly grew up when even for kids in school perceived manliness and womanliness were cudgels that kids beat each other with constantly. Any words, deed or garments (green on Thursdays!) that deviated from stereotypes brought out the ridicule and bullying. A future without that sounds good.

You need to read the whole, long, breezy piece. I won't swipe the best quotes. However, it does reinforce some of the findings of Indiana University biologist and sexuality researcher Alfred Kinsey almost 50 years ago. For example, a few sources in the article do mention aspects of that knotty issue of the spectrum of sexual identity. Kinsey found that virtually all of his thousands of subjects were at any moment on a range from heterosexual to homosexual, and that for some, their point would alter from time to time.

Those loony ex-gay promoters like to use this to "prove" that homosexuality is a choice and berate anyone for whom it never was and never will be. That a pity, because as this article illustrates so well from some youth who are coming to terms with whatever their sexual nature is, even straight identified youth can feel strong attraction for others f their gender and gay youth can feel the same for kids of the other gender.

Lobron spoke with gay and straight kids who are already comfortable with a society that includes GLBT youth and adults. They are also becoming comfortable with their own sexual identities. The kids are okay.

Content note: This excellent piece does not sensationalize. Specifically, it does not interview or even mention the Acton-Boxborough student whose parents were not supportive.

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1 comment:

Mark D. Snyder said...

I think things are generally better for teens today in Massachusetts. And there are many positive signs.

However the statistics still show that suicide rates and other risk factors like skipping school and violence remain higher for gay teens than their straight peers, particularly if their school does not have a GSA.

There are still thousands of teens in our state, and millions nationwide struggling with anti-gay harassment and violence. (heck, that's why I fled to Boston!)