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.'"

Coming Out in Middle School [nyt]

Posted September 25, 2009 at 8:45am ETC by Andy Towle
in education, Gay youth, News