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More gay and bi teen boys are coming out to their parents

The number of gay, bisexual, and pansexual teen boys who are out to their parents has increased dramatically over recent decades, new research shows.

The study, published by the American Psychological Association, found that the majority of teen boys were out to at least one parent.

It examined the experiences of more than 1,100 Generation Z boys, born between 1998 and 2010, who were gay, bisexual, or attracted to people regardless of gender.

Two thirds were out to their mother or other female parental figure, and almost half were out to their father or other male parental figure.

The results represent a steep increase in coming out since the 1990s, when just 40% of gay and bisexual boys were out to their mother and 30% were out to their father, the researchers said.

Boys in the study who had fully accepted their sexual identity were more likely to be out to their parents.

Participants were asked questions such as whether they would change their sexuality if they could.

White teens and those who were not religious were also more likely to be out.

“This gives us an understanding of the factors that move teenagers to share this type of information with the people closest to them,” said lead author Dr David A. Moskowitz. 

“We can now compare these practices with how other generations deal with these issues and think about what it all means for future generations.”

Dr Moskowitz said that an important next step will be similarly investigating the coming-out process for girls in the same age group, research that this study could help to define. 

“In the meantime, these findings should be helpful to those who work with teenagers identifying as sexual minorities,” said Dr Moskowitz.

Young people in the last year were urged by an LGBTIQ+ charity in the UK to consider “pressing pause” on coming out to their parents during COVID-19 lockdowns, given the increased risk of consequences such as family violence or rejection while being forced to share a space. 

Other recent research has found that young gay and bisexual people often feel less supported by their parents, with boys reporting poorer relationships with their fathers.

Parental support for LGBTIQ+ young people can be crucial in situations such as school bullying, and experts have recommended tailored parenting classes to help parents accept their out children.

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