Even in today's society, gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals experience multiple pressures and constraints related to their lifestyles, in addition to the stresses of everyday life. This dual tension can result in psychopathology among gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals. Preventing Heterosexism and Homophobia examines the gay and lesbian experience in light of their tension and points toward a future free of heterosexism. The stress of “coming out,” the uncertainty of parenting their children, and the difficulties facing ethnic minority lesbians and bisexuals cannot be adequately addressed without confronting the heterosexual bias in society. The contributors to this informative volume propose methods geared toward eliminating heterosexual bias in various settings–health care, therapy, communities, corporate America, and education. Ultimately, this book examines both the risks and joys of being gay, lesbian, and bisexual, and how to prevent heterosexism and its effects on the lives of all people, including those of heterosexuals. Students and professionals in interpersonal communication and interpersonal relations, clinical psychology, and public health will benefit greatly from the original perspectives this book has to offer.
Chapter 7: Enhancing the Development of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Youths
Enhancing the Development of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Youths
The “homosexual adolescent” was discovered by empirical social science in 1972, with the appearance of a research paper titled “Youthful Male Homosexuality: Homosexual Experience and the Process of Developing Homosexual Identity in Males Aged 16 to 22 Years” (Roesler & Deisher, 1972). Based on interviews with 60 males who “had engaged in homosexual acts to orgasm,” the paper conceptualizes sexual orientation as a developmental process that accelerates after puberty. More important, the authors describe substantial stressors related to homoerotic identity consolidation, which they relate to social and cultural censure. Echoing later research, Roesler and Deisher found evidence of mental health problems; 48% of the youths had visited a ...