Mind Candy

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Understanding the gay teen

Posted by mandyf on September 9, 2012

Understanding a gay teen is no easier than understanding any teen and that can be said from personal experience. Teens in general have the ability to be a walking, talking breathing body of contradictions at their very best. They want to be independent and viewed as adults, but they also want to depend on their parents and be excused from the mistakes they make without repercussions. They feel as if they know it all, or at least as much as any adult does, yet constantly say “I don’t know” to more questions than seems possible. The list can go on and on, and as everyone goes through this phase of life, and many will raise a person going through this period in the growth process it is a fairly well accepted notion.

With that said however, the gay teen is going to face some challenges and go through situations that make them more difficult to understand in some cases. Note that is not a universal statement, just something that is true of some gay teens. What specifically is there to understand about the gay teen? In all honesty pretty much the same things that you would need or want to understand about the straight teen with a few small twists.

A gay teen wants to be accepted for who they are by their family and peers. They want the ability to be able to express themselves openly and honestly free from judgment. All teens want that, the difference is for the gay teen they are often told not to do that. Who tells them that? The media, often the church, numerous venues online, sometimes teachers or similar authority figures, their families, and even friends. In some cases the gay teen gets a dose of hearing how bad being gay is from every angle, sometimes just from a couple, or even one. The point is however that it doesn’t matter, so long as someone keeps telling them gay people are somehow bad or inferior it sticks with them and at the least plants the seed that they need to self censor their identity.

Understanding the gay teen means understanding they are confused. Who wasn’t confused about almost everything that had to do with sex and self identity at least briefly in their teen years? For heterosexuals they will receive all the information they need to ever now about sex education in the school and constantly hear about safe heterosexual sex and everything related to sex and families in general solely from that perspective. Not personally identifying to that and feeling left out you can bet the topic confuses them and makes an already stressful topic even more

so. How would a heterosexual person feel in an environment where the tables were turned and there was no parity, or even the option to learn about it as others do?

The gay teen of today is now in a position of great social upheaval and they have to decide what their role in it is and how it can potentially impact them not only in the moment but long term. It is no secret the drive for LGBT equality and marriage rights have become a hornets in many places, especially the U.S. A gay teen is often faced with dilemma of wondering whether or not it is wise for them to be involved in it. On one hand this is something that will effect them their entire life, on the other hand being involved can negatively effect them in the short term.

If you don’t believe there are people willing to discriminate against people known as gays, open up a discussion forum anywhere on the web which discusses hat rights and see for yourself. Look at the U.S. laws surrounding the rights of LGBT persons and see that 60% of the nation allows for the legal discrimination of gays. Better yet get real gutsy and randomly sample 20 people on the street of a city and ask a series of questions aimed at assessing their views on gays and get a first hand view of the issue. If it is a difficult choice for an adult to make, imagine how much harder it is for the gay teen seeing the road they morally feel they should take, but often feeling like the path of less resistance is what society dictates they do in order to succeed.

The gay teen of today faces a world of contradictions. On one hand they are told all men are equal until they get their first taste of legal discrimination. They are told to express them self until the first time their doing so is deemed “deviant” or “unacceptable because being gay just isn’t desired. They are told that being gay is okay, then they are told it is only okay so long as you don’t discuss, don’t allow anyone to see that awful gay behavior like holding your partners hand in public, and only okay if they are okay with being labeled and treated like some sub-sect of second class beings. They are told love is the greatest gift w can share, except their love for a member of the same sex which is somehow tainted and impure.

Just with that small sampling of what the gay teens of today face it is obvious to see they don’t wrestle necessarily with the same issues of their heterosexual peers. The sad thing is the teens today have it better than the teens of an era since any human on this planet has been alive and it is still that bad. How does sorting through all of that sound, and how do you think it feels for a gay teen, never mind an adult?

In all honesty all a gay teen wants is to be treated like everyone else. They want equality and they don’t feel like they should have to grovel or fight for it. They want to be respected as a person, not viewed as a lesser person because they happen to be attracted to people of the same sex. They want to be able to experience all the same things their peers do, just in the manner which is proper for them, ie; taking their date to the prom even if they are the same sex. They want to be free from the threat of violence because they are gay, and they don’t want everyone telling them how well they understand their needs when they have no clue. Unless things have changed a lot since my time as a gay teen, which I suspect they haven’t, that is what a gay teen wants you to understand about them.

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