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Growing Up Gay

.. h homosexuals with AIDS; or, hear heated debates on the moral perversion of homosexuals from TV Christian evangelist. Gay adolescents have no positive gay role models. They are reluctant to consider themselves homosexual because that might mean being super-effeminate-stricken-with-AIDS-doomed-to-hell faggot. Gay adolescents are not the only ones to notice that they might be homosexual; their parents are just as perceptive.

Many gay youths suggest that their mothers seem to be aware of their identity confusion (Mallon, Wagon 40). One mother recollects on knowing: I noticed Joshua was different Hes artistic, I told myself, uneasy with the other word that was running through my head: effeminate Like many parents, I fell prey to fears that my sons difference meant he would grow up to be one of them, a homosexual. (Mallon, Wagon 40) Gay men describe their fathers as distant during childhood; they lacked any bond to them (Isay 32). A father may become unreceptive or detached when sensing his son may be homosexual. The fathers removal may be the reason why gay young males have poor self-esteem. The Disclosure Period The third stage of Troidens model is identity assumption.

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In this stage, the homosexual identity becomes both a self-identity and a presented identity, at least to other homosexuals (Troiden 59). Self-recognition and disclosure to others of their sexual preference first occurs here; signs of coming out. Along with self-recognition and disclosure, the characteristics of this developmental stage are: better self-acceptance of being homosexual, sexual activities, involvement in gay subcultures, exploration of different types of friendships and other relationships. While there is self-identification and better self-acceptance, full acceptance of being homosexual does not occur; it is tolerated (60). Cass describes people at this stage as follows: You feel sure youre a homosexual and you put up with, or tolerate this. You see yourself as a homosexual for now but are not sure about how you will be in the future.

You usually take care to put across a heterosexual image. You sometimes mix socially with homosexuals, or would like to do this. You feel a need to meet others like yourself. (156) Contact with other homosexuals is crucial at this stage. Negative initial contact with other homosexuals can be disastrous, resulting the novice homosexual to return to the experiences of stage two. However, positive initial contact with other homosexuals furthers the development and maturation of the novice homosexual. Positive contact helps reduce the feelings of being alienated or abnormal (Troiden 61).

The final stage in development of a homosexual identity in Troidens model is that of commitment. In the commitment stage, homosexuals adopt homosexuality as a lifestyle and feel comfortable. The gay youth enjoys satisfaction of being gay (Troiden 63). Within commitment are two elements, internal and external. In the internal dimension, sexuality and emotionality integrate, positive alteration in the conceptualization of gay identity occurs, and an increase of satisfaction and happiness emerges (64). The external characteristics are the effects of the internal dimension.

Same-sex romantic relationships start, demonstrating the integration of emotionality and sexuality. The positive shift of the conceptualization of gay identity makes disclosure easier (65). Cass expresses this stage a positive and open stage: You are prepared to tell [almost] anyone that you are s homosexual. You are happy about the way you are but feel that being homosexual is not the most important part of you. You mix socially with homosexuals and heterosexuals [with whom] you are open about your homosexuality. (156) The Post Disclosure Period Some parents adjust effectively to their childs homosexuality; however, other parents are unsuspecting and reacting erratically, negative manner (Mallon, Wagon 36).

The reason for such negative parental reaction to their childs disclosure is the first thing most parents do is apply their negative and often mistaken conception of homosexuality to their own child (42). Living in a homophobic society can create family problems, because a homophobic society triggers negative reactions (36). Parents try and deal with with guilt, anger, concerns for a childs happiness in the years to come, religious issues, and any of the myriad of myths that are part of the parents own homophobic socialization (Hidalgo 21). The beginning reactions of parents to a childs coming out relate to gay adolescents experiences in the second stage of homosexuality identity development, identity confusion. Parents go through stages of: (1) denial; (2) avoidance; (3) repair; (4) guilt; and, (5) rejection (1 42).

Many parents constantly tell their child, Its just a phase. The denial stage for parents is the redefinition period that gay adolescents undergo in identity confusion. Many parents tend to avoid the subject all together; parents want to talk about anything but it. However, homosexuals feel that they cannot communicate with their parents (Mallon, Wagon 44). Most parents send their gay child to therapy in hopes for a cure.

(45). The notion of trying to cure their child is a reflection of their wishes than on his needs (Hidalgo 24-25). Besides, most efforts of a cure fail (Mallon, Wagon 45). Parents have been given wrong information about their role modeling, behavior, and parenting style that determined their childs sexual orientation. Therefore, parents react negatively; they feel guilty (Mallon, Helping 83).

They start to believe they were parents, asking themselves, What did I do wrong? (Mallon, Wagon 49). Parents should realize that there is no evidence that parents are responsible for their childs sexual orientation (Hidalgo 24). In many cases, the parents reject their child. Many homosexuals recount feeling like this when their parents rejected them: When I realized that my own family couldnt accept me, my own flesh and blood, I thought, why should I expect the rest of society to cut me any slack? I felt hopeless, disillusioned and worthless. My own family how could they do this to me, be so cold, so uncaring.

It was as if they were saying they didnt care if I died. I dont think Ill ever get over that. (Mallon, Helping 84). Rejection can be very brutal. Parents become emotional, verbal, and physical abusive to their child.

The abuse can be so severe that juvenile court must step in (Abinati 161). Being kicked out from the home is another consequence of rejection by parents (Mallon, Wagon 83). Urban and rural Associate researchers discovered that many young male prostitutes are homosexual, and they are products of their families inability to accept their sons homosexuality (Coleman 136). It would be wrong to say that only negative outcomes occur when a child tells his parents he is gay. Many children feel that in order to establish an honest relationship with their parents then they must come clean to them.

Ben-Aris research points out those adolescents who want to be open and honest with their parents receive that after disclosure. Parents are usually accepting after time their childs sexual preference (107) Conclusion This paper has effort to generally show youths growing up gay. A number of issues have been presented involving gay identity formation, parental interaction, and disclosure. Homosexuality is a very controversial subject. By no mean does this paper try to say that it is totally correct. However, the paper does examine logical theoretical ideas of what gay adolescents endure, using and combining research and reports of other gay studies. Bibliography Abinati, Abby.

Legal Challenges Facing Lesbian and GayYouths. Helping Gay and Lesbian Youth. Ed. DeCrescenzo, Teresa. New York: Haworth Press, Inc., 1994. Ben-Ari, Adital.

Disclosure to Parents Journal of Homosexuality. 30 (1995): 89-111. Cass, V.C. Homosexual Identity Journal of Homosexuality 9 (1983/1984): 105-126. Coleman, Eli. The Development of male Prostitution Activity Among Gay and Bisexual Adolescents.

Gay and Lesbian Youth. Ed. Herdt, Gilbert. New York: Harrington Park Press, 1989. Durby, Dennis D.

Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youth. Helping Gay and Lesbian Youth. Ed. DeCrescenzo, Teresa. New York: Haworth Press, Inc., 1994. Herdt, Gilbert.

Introduction: Gay and Lesbian Youth, Emergent Identities, and Cultural Scenes at Home and Abroad. Gay and Lesbian Youth. Ed. Herdt, Gilbert. New York: Harrington Park Press, 1989. Hidalgo, Hilda.

Lesbian and Gay Issues. Maryland: National Association of Social Workers, 1985. Isay, Richard A. Being Homosexual. New Jersey: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1989. Mallon, Gerald P.

Counseling Strategies with Gay and Lesbian Youth. Helping Gay and Lesbian Youth. Ed. DeCrescenzo, Teresa. New York: Haworth Press, Inc., 1994. Mallon, Gerald P.

We Dont Exactly Get the Welcome Wagon. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998. Taylor, Nancy. Gay and Lesbian Youth: Challenging the Policy of Denial. Helping Gay and Lesbian Youth.

Ed. DeCrescenzo, Teresa. New York: Haworth Press, Inc., 1994. Troiden, Richard R. The Formation of Homosexual Identities.

Gay and Lesbian Youth. Ed. Herdt, Gilbert. New York: Harrington Park Press, 1989. Walling, Donovan R. Gay Teens at Risk.

Indiana: Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation, 1993.


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