So, for those who site these statistics as evidence that being gay is against God...?

Does this study make you think any differently about that opinion?

Study: Family behavior key to health of gay youth

By LISA LEFF, Associated Press Writer Lisa Leff, Associated Press Writer – Mon Dec 29, 12:02 am ET

SAN FRANCISCO – Young gay people whose parents or guardians responded negatively when they revealed their sexual orientation were more likely to attempt suicide, experience severe depression and use drugs than those whose families accepted the news, according to a new study.

The way in which parents or guardians respond to a youth's sexual orientation profoundly influences the child's mental health as an adult, say researchers at San Francisco State University, whose findings appear in Monday's journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

"Parents love their children and want the best for them," said lead researcher Caitlin Ryan, a social worker who directs the university's Family Acceptance Project. "Now that we have measured all these behaviors, we can see that some of them put youth at extremely high risk and others are wellness-promoting."

Among other findings, the study showed that teens who experienced negative feedback were more than eight times as likely to have attempted suicide, nearly six times as vulnerable to severe depression and more than three times at risk of drug use.

More significantly, Ryan said, ongoing work at San Francisco State suggests that parents who take even baby steps to respond with equanimity instead of rejection can dramatically improve a gay youth's mental health outlook.

One of the most startling findings was that being forbidden to associate with gay peers was as damaging as being physically beaten or verbally abused by their parents in terms of negative feedback, Ryan said.

In the two-part study, Ryan and her colleagues first interviewed 53 families with gay teenagers to identify 106 specific behaviors that could be considered "accepting" or "rejecting." For example, blaming a youth for being bullied at school, shielding him from other relatives or belittling her appearance for not conforming to social expectations fell into the rejecting category.

Next, they surveyed 224 white and Latino gay people between ages 21 and 25 to see which of the behaviors they had experienced growing up. The responses then were matched against the participants' recent histories of severe depression, suicide attempts, substance abuse and unsafe sexual behavior.

While the results might seem intuitive, Ryan said the study, funded by the California Endowment, was the first to establish a link between health problems in gay youths and their home environments.

She has used the information in workshops with parents and other caregivers who have strained relationships with their gay teenagers, and said many were alarmed enough to make immediate changes in their interactions.

Ryan recalled a teenage girl whose mother forced her to date a boy and sent her to live with her grandmother when she learned her daughter was a lesbian. After hearing about the connection between parental attitudes and suicide, the mother stopped arranging the dates with the boy and instead inquired about her daughter's girlfriend.

"She was really concerned," Ryan said. "She saw that her daughter had become increasingly withdrawn and that she was contributing to these feelings of isolation and sadness."

In her paper for the journal Pediatrics, Ryan recommends that medical professionals ask young patients how their families have reacted to their sexual orientations and tell parents that negative reactions may prove harmful even if well-intentioned.

Such conversations are necessary because young people have been coming out at younger ages. Consistent with other studies, the youths in Ryan's study were on average under 11 years old when they first experienced a same-sex attraction, were just over 14 when they realized they were gay and came out to their families before they had turned 16.

Doctors, in a misguided attempt to comfort parents, may tell them a child who isn't sexually active couldn't know if he were gay or not, Ryan said.

"When providers and adults and family members think of gay people, they think of sex. They don't think of emotional attraction or social interaction or spiritual connectedness or deep-rooted psychological feelings," she said.

Sten Vermund, a Vanderbilt University pediatrician who became interested in Ryan's work this summer when she presented her research at the international AIDS conference in Mexico City, agrees that doctors should be encouraged to talk with parents about responding to a child's sexual orientation in a supportive way.

"So many families of children who are gay, bisexual or transgender, particularly families of gay male youth, think that if they are tough on the kid and tell him how unsatisfactory his gay lifestyle is to the family, he will have it knocked out of him," Vermund said.

Vermund said he also was i

Update:

TML, what's Vermund?

24 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Interesting article.

    I already knew most of this through common sense though, but it's a pity that some parents of gay youth or anti-gay groups (for example, Prop 8 supporters) don't realise this as clearly as others do and understand that their negative actions and attitudes towards homosexuality often only make the situation worse.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Why is this study targeting homosexuals? I believe that the way a parent responds to their children's actions/personalities, regardless of sexual orientation can have a positive or negative impact on a teen's life. I did not think my parents gave me the love and support I needed when I was a teenager and I was depressed, thought of suicide, and had I the opportunity, I probably would have done more than pick up smoking in high school. (I'm proud to say that I've been smoke free for almost four years.) Of course the child is going to have negative reactions and feelings if the parents try and force them to do things they don't want to do, they don't respond well with the child coming to them about something major in their lives, etc.

    I wouldn't be surprised that if the study targeted kids who wanted to play basketball or join the chess team but were forced to do something opposite, they might find similar results.

    So the conclusion might also be that the researchers had an agenda and are against gay kids.

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  • 1 decade ago

    And to add - I love these people that say 'the bible say's it's wrong'. If this is the case then can someone answer this question - If it is wrong then why was i born gay? How do i know I was born gay? - well for the very same reason that any straight person knows they are straight. Do you decide to be straight? of course not. It is not rocket science it is quite simple. You make choices like 'should i get a bus or walk today'. Not 'ok i think i will alter my mind and make myself 'attracted' spiritually, sexually and mentally to someone of the same gender, thus making my life slightly more difficult due to bigots and probably going to hell!! Wake up, it is not difficult to see! Well i agree with the above. I think that it is unbelievable today that some people and particularly parents could come to the ridiculous conclusion that being gay is a lifestyle choice or a result of growing up. Yes, agreeably it could be suggested that those who suffer sexual abuse etc could have some deep rooted psychological issues relating to sex and gender however i know as a gay man that i have not suffered any of these problems and have known since about 9 years old that i was gay. More understanding is needed by all!

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I'd like to know how being gay is against god, when a little thing called SCIENCE proves that's how they're born.

    • Homosexuality is biological and lies within the brain. There is no changing it. It is not a choice because there is evidence. The hypothalamus is the source of sexual attraction in the brain, and experiments show that gay men's hypothalami respond to the male pharomone the exact same way that females do.

    Evidence:

    "A functional hypothalamus difference surfaced in recent reports of brain responses to hormone-derived sexual scents. Swedish researchers (Savic & others, 2005) reported that when straight women are given a whiff of a scent derived from men's sweat, their hypothalamus lights up in an area governing sexual arousal. Gay men's brains responded similarly to the men's scent, but straight men's brains showed the arousal response only to a female hormone derivative."

    You can't deny that evidence. People can't CHOOSE how their hypothalamus and other parts of their brain respond to a certain pharomone.

    Homosexuality is completely natural, it also occurs in the animal kingdom.

    Evidence:

    "Biologist Bruce Bagemihl (1999) identifies several hundred species in which at least occasional same-sex relations have been observed. Grizzlies, gorillas, monkeys, flamingos, and owls are all on the long list. Among rams, for example, some 6 to 10 percent—to sheep-breeding ranchers, the "duds"—display same-sex attraction by shunning ewes and seeking to mount other males (Perkins & Fitzgerald, 1997). So, some degree of homosexuality seems to be a natural part of the animal world as well."

    Source(s): First year introductory psychology course in university
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  • 1 decade ago

    I would expect the same result in most situations in which the parent is staunchly against any attribute their child identifies with: sexual orientation, weight, grades, color, gender, etc. Kids need to know their parents love is not conditional on anything like that. People who try to use God to spread hate are just wrong. Parents that shun their children for traits that are beyond their control are doomed to lose them, at least to some degree. I hope the article reaches those in need.

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  • Lois
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Actually, the Bible does not preach against Gays and Gay Marriage. This is a common misconception. For What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality, I refer you to the book of the book of the same name. It was written by a Catholic Priest.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Fundamentalists of every religion are true abominations. They are poisons to humanity, and only a massive infusion of reason and rationality can wipe these fools off the face of the earth. In the meantime, homophobia runs rampant among the delusional because their unholy books say homosexuality is a "sin." Phooey.

    Edit @ Marty - Nothing is more boring than reading quoted nonsense biblical scripture.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I just think its sad, that parents would hand out hurt instead of love. As a christian, it is my job to make certain that my children feel loved and accepted....even when I dont agree with what they are doing...the point is to show them who I believe God really is.....I just want to take those children who are so wounded by thier sorry excuses for parents, and bring them ALL home with me.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Are we a modern society? I hardly think so. Society needs to change it's understanding of the gay community.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I don't understand people that are against gay people ? What is it to them anyway ? How can gay people getting married or raising children effect their lives ? I think they need to find a hobby or something because they must have too much time on their hands if that's what their worried about.

    Source(s): May god bless the gays (if their is a god) and may he smite the haters
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