Coming Out in Middle School: When Kids Say 'I'm Gay' at 10, 11, 12...
Don't miss Benoit Denizet-Lewis' article for The New York Times Magazine this weekend on gay, lesbian, and bisexual kids who are coming out in middle school. Writes Denizet-Lewis:
"What is clear is that for many gay youth, middle school is more survival than learning — one parent of a gay teenager I spent time with likened her child’s middle school to a 'war zone.' In a 2007 survey of 626 gay, bisexual and transgender middle-schoolers from across the country by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (Glsen), 81 percent reported being regularly harassed on campus because of their sexual orientation. Another 39 percent reported physical assaults. Of the students who told teachers or administrators about the bullying, only 29 percent said it resulted in effective intervention."
"Still, the younger they are when they come out, the more that youth with same-sex attractions face an obstacle that would be unimaginable to their straight peers. When a 12-year-old boy matter-of-factly tells his parents — or a school counselor — that he likes girls, their reaction tends not to be one of disbelief, dismissal or rejection. 'No one says to them: ‘Are you sure? You’re too young to know if you like girls. It’s probably just a phase,’'' says Eileen Ross, the director of the Outlet Program, a support service for gay youth in Mountain View, Calif. 'But that’s what we say too often to gay youth. We deny them their feelings and truth in a way we would never do with a heterosexual young person.'"