Gay Teens Engage in Destructive Behavior, CDC Reports
Gay teenagers are routinely harassed, bullied and ostracized, as we've often seen in the news. And then there are their own emotional conflicts and doubts piled upon the usual adolescent angst.
It is no wonder that a study, released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, concludes that gay, lesbian and bisexual teenagers are more likely to engage in self-destructive behavior -- smoking, drinking, illegal drugs, unprotected sex and attempted suicide -- than their straight peers.
The new study is based on data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveys, Time magazine reports. The surveys were conducted from 2001 to 2009 among high school students in New York City, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Milwaukee and San Diego.
Teens were asked about everything from whether or not they used heroin to whether or not they buckled their seat belts.
"This report should be a wake-up call," Dr. Howell Wechsler, the director of CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health, tells Time. "We are very concerned that these students face such dramatic disparities for so many different health risks."
A cause of these risky behaviors is a lack of safe and supportive environments, according to the Advocate, a gay publication.
CDC officials call for state and local governments to take action, such as creating gay-straight alliances.
Better information is also needed, the Advocate indicates. In 2009, the last year the survey was taken, only 10 states and seven large school districts asked whether students were gay or bisexual.
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.