The Devestating Effects of Homophobia and Family Rejection

A recent study(link goes to the abstract of the study) that has come out recently has found some alarming and sad statistics on gay kids who have been rejected from their families.

While this particular study focused on gay kids in particular, family rejection happens, though less frequently i imagine, for many other reasons such as not accepting the religion or cultural of the parents and engaging in whatever other behavior, natural or not, harmful or not, that the parents consider unforgivable.

Here are some of the highlights, as the abstract summarizes:

Higher rates of family rejection were significantly associated with poorer health outcomes. On the basis of odds ratios, lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adults who reported higher levels of family rejection during adolescence were 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide, 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression, 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs, and 3.4 times more likely to report having engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse compared with peers from families that reported no or low levels of family rejection. Latino men reported the highest number of negative family reactions to their sexual orientation in adolescence.

That suicide statistic, as one medical blogger has pointed out means that:

“67 percent of study subjects in the high rejection group had attempted suicide by age 25!”

The subjects of the study were graded on the amount of “rejecting behaviors” they had experienced. They ranged from “low rejection” which included things like the parents disapproving of their sexuality to blaming anti-gay experiences on the child rather than the perpetrators to “high rejection” which can go as far as outright rejection like forcing the kid to move out and stopping financial support for school, etc. The above stat refers to the high rejection group.

I have read some detailed personal accounts and interviews with kids who were in situations like that. The worst ones tend to be in small towns where the communities are very insular but very supportive and caring as long as its members strictly cohere to the norms. Kids who did not are disowned by the parents, shunned out of their church, rejected by their friends, and essentially driven to leave the community all-together. Money that was promised to them for school suddently cut off, they have to make their own way. It is very heart-wrenching and devastating so i am not very surprised by stats like the ones these researchers found.

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