The LGBT teens have a hard enough time in school without being given misleading information from the experts. A study claims LGBT teens who ‘come out’ while in school have a better self-esteem. This information may insinuate all LGBT teens will feel better about themselves if they identify as LGBT during their high school years.
This bold claim could be an example of manipulative research to sway the young readers into thinking their lives will be better if they disclose personal information: Maybe it was the teens who already demonstrated a stable mental well-being who had the better self-esteem during the study? Could it be possible the teens who were still struggling with self-identity issues or peer pressure and did not ‘come out’ showed the lower self-esteem in the research? The factors other than the self-disclosure could have corrupted the findings.
In an ideal world, this covert suggestion would be appropriate, but we don’t live in an ideal world. We live in a judgmental world consumed with hatred for anyone who is different than we are. The ‘hatred seed’ is planted in the home environment permeating into the social atmosphere of schools. Unfortunately, students learn to bully those who are different than them in school.
LGBT teens may already have a difficult time just trying to ‘fit in’ in a biased school setting with peers who are not welcoming. That added anxiety of identifying as different may just push them over the stress threshold and promote not only physical but mental distress, as well.
Furthermore, there are numerous students who are still searching for their whole identity. They may be questioning all aspects of their identity, not solely their sexual preferences. To encourage a student who is still searching his identity to make a public statement about a sexual preference may be unwarranted and create more harm to that student.
In a tolerant, welcoming school environment along with a strong desire to acknowledge one’s identity, this suggestion from the experts would be appropriate. However, to boldly state LBGT teens have better self-esteem after disclosing their identity is to insinuate they will gain self-esteem by going public. Maybe they’re not ready to go public.
You can’t beat, pray or wish the ‘gay’ away, but on the same token, you can’t encourage the LBGT teens to come out if they are still searching their identity.