Friday, February 11, 2011

What is life like for a gay teenager?

As I sat on the bus the other day, I heard a disturbing message on the radio: a large amount of teenagers aren’t accepting of those who are gay and even go so far as to bully and attack them.
Of course, I didn’t really need to be told this. I go to school. I know how some people act.
I guess it was sadness which has made me think of it as I write. I’m sad that many people of my age can’t accept their gay peers. I’m sad that in 2011, gays can’t marry. I’m sad that almost every gay person experiences or has experienced homophobia. I’m sad about the lack of equality.

In 2010, one of my good friends, Lee* came out as lesbian. She pulled me aside and told me one day and though I’d only really just got to know her, we were beginning to form a good friendship. I was touched that she trusted me; I knew that it was something that Lee had to tell others herself – when she was ready and from the minute she told me, my lips were sealed.

She told some people, little by little and soon it was out: there was a lesbian in our year.
It spread like wildfire. Strangers began to hiss, ‘dyke,’ at Lee when she walked through the corridors.
Soon, girls were rushing out of the change rooms when Lee walked in, assuming that because she was gay, she was also a pervert.

Here are some American statistics:
- 80% of gay, lesbian and bisexual young people said that they have felt severely isolated.
- A study found that gay young people are 2 – 3 times more likely to commit suicide in comparison to other youth.
- 53% of gay students have heard homophobic comments made by members of staff.

During part of this time, Lee fell into a deep depression – which unfortunately is the reality for many teens that identify as GLBTIQ. She faced nasty comments from members of the class and for months, people talked about, ‘that lesbian chick,’ when they obviously had nothing more interesting to discuss.
Luckily, the situation has calmed down a lot. It is almost normal at school for Lee now but had she not had the support which she received at that time, things could have ended in a much, much worse way. 

I urge you to be kind and accepting of gay teens as this is often a really difficult time for them.
I’d be grateful to hear your thoughts on the matter and whether you'd like to read a post from Lee...

* Name was changed for security reasons.
Thank you to for the statistics.


  1. Yeah I absolutely in Australia we except that fact that we live around different nationalities to us and we except that but as soon as someone says they are gay or bisexual.
    They get put down, teased, bullied and are quite often forced into a solitary life because no one is willing to see past their sexuality to see the person they really are inside.
    It just disgusts me.

  2. Thanks for your sensitive post. I know it's tough enough being a teenager without the added pressure of bullying because someone decided to be exactly who they are.

    Bullies are afraid. Afraid of what's different and afraid of losing face. They are really pretty sad and pathetic. It's a shame they have to bring nice people down with taunts and make their lives hell. They are ignorant.

    It astounds me that with kids committing suicide over these problems, the bullies haven't gotten a clue yet. How would they feel if someone they had been bullying killed themselves because of what they said and did to them?

    Sounds like you are a great friend to have. What you write about is important, so keep going.

  3. This is a very important topic- it is great that you have written about it and even better that you are such a good friend to Lee. I am sorry to hear how hard things have been for her, and for you too I imagine, seeing your friend go through all this.

    Yes. I would love to read a post from Lee.

  4. Hi Louise,
    I just want to say that this is beautiful, and wonderful, and a pleasure to see and read. And you are good person to be a voice of support to your friend. We need more young people just like you in this world, especially when it comes to gay kids, and those who attack and bully them. Keep doing what you're doing - it will rub off on people ;)
    Best, Paul V.
    "Born This Way" Blog

  5. It's ridiculous that people are still persecuted for who they love, isn't it?! It's great that Lee was able to come out to you and have your support, well done for being there for her.
    Have you seen - it's brilliant.

  6. I'm in total agreement with the others here. What you have done for your friend is the support young and older people need, not just want.
    We can only hope things will change and acceptance of who we are is 'normal' and not have to justify the life we are born to.