Do Gay Teens Even Need 'It Gets Better?'

Given the recent spate of gay teen suicides and all the attention given to school bullying and the "It Gets Better" YouTube project, you'd think gay teenagers were in a constant state of peril. One psychologist says it's not true.

In an article on the Good Man Project, psychologist Ritch C. Savin-Williams says, "Despite its apparent public appeal, scientific research simply does not support the picture of gay youth in psychological peril." He says that despite the evidence of Tyler Clementi, the gay Rutgers student who killed himself last month, and the other high-profile gay suicides, there is no modern scientific study to support that gay teenagers are more at risk for suicide than their straight counterparts.

Well, it's been awhile since I was a gay teen, but it was no walk in the park. But then again, that was more than a couple years ago and I was a giant sissy. As Savin-Williams points out, kids who are gender non-conformists—be they gay, straight, or trans—are more at risk for bullying than gay teens who adhere to traditional gender roles. Of course we need to give gay teens as much encouragement and support for having the courage to come out so young, but maybe we also need to give the issue a little more scientific study before making any more YouTube videos.

[Image via Fausto Fernus' Flickr]