Two hundred six lesbian and bisexual female youth aged 14 to 21 were sampled from social and recreational settings. Most were aware of their same-sex attractions in adolescence, but disclosure to others lagged by five years. Youth on average spent 30% of their lives aware of their orientation without disclosure to others. According to youths' reports, three-quarters of their mothers and half of their fathers knew of their sexual orientation. Half had experienced repetitive verbal abuse, 12% reported several threats, and 7% had been assaulted multiple times. Youths who had self-identified as lesbian or bisexual or had told others of their sexual orientation reported more lifetime sexual orientation victimization. Fewer mental health symptoms were associated with having support from parents and with having not lost friends due to their sexual orientation. Less past sexual orientation victimization and fewer fears about future attacks were significant predictors of having less mental health symptoms. To decrease the victimization young lesbians and bisexual females experience, efforts need to be made to help families become more supportive and to make schools safer.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Gender Studies