What is homosexuality?
Homosexuals are people who are attracted to people of the same sex. Heterosexuals are attracted to people of the other sex. There is a range of sexual expression.
Teen years are a time to explore sexuality and learn about yourself. Many boys and girls are attracted to individuals of the same sex during puberty. This does not necessarily mean that someone is only attracted to people of the same sex.
Teens can choose whether or not to act on their sexual feelings, no matter what their sexual orientation.
What issues does it cause for teens?
Gay teens, like all teens, will spend a lot of time trying to decide who they are, what values they believe in, and what they want to do in life. It is a time to start deciding for themselves what is right and wrong.
However, gay teens face other issues as well. Society and families often have a hard time accepting homosexuality. Many gay teens face verbal and even physical abuse.
Many teens worry how friends and family will react, and feel they have no one to talk to. Sometimes, teens dealing with these issues have anxiety, stress, or depression. Stress may cause physical problems like trouble sleeping and headaches. Teens may turn to drugs or alcohol as ways to deal with their emotional pain. Some even have thoughts about suicide. These are serious problems that need professional attention.
What if I want to talk about it?
Talking with trusted family members and friends may help. Because others do not always accept homosexuality, it can be hard to talk about it. As with any other personal information, when and whom you tell about your sexuality is your decision. If you feel you can’t tell your parents, it may be best to talk to a counselor to help you sort out your feelings. Even if you do not seek professional counseling, talk to a trusted adult, such as a school nurse or school counselor. Ask them to recommend a support group.
There are many organizations for homosexuals, their families, and friends, such as:
- Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), web site http://www.pflag.org or call 202-467-8180
- YouthResource, A project of Advocates for Youth, web site http://www.youthresource.com/
Developed by RelayHealth. Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2009-10-29
Last reviewed: 2010-06-07 This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional. References
Pediatric Advisor 2011.4 Index
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