A new study indicates that gay teens receive harsher punishments than straight teens for the same crimes—despite engaging in less violent behavior overall. But at least they can finally get married and join the military! Oh. Wait.
So, yes, obviously, there is the joke about how it's easier for straight teens to get off, but we'll make it another time, when we're not feeling so depressed. The study, published in Pediatrics and conducted by Yale researchers Kathryn Himmelstein and Hannah Bruckner, took a look at "an ongoing national survey that tracked adolescent health and behaviors" and cross-referenced it for sexual orientation and punishments (controlling it, of course, for gender, race and economic status).
And what they found was pretty cruddy:
Regardless of their sexual orientation, 76 percent of the participants said they'd committed minor offenses such as running away, shoplifting or getting drunk, the study found. Thirty percent reported moderate wrongdoing such as selling drugs and burglary, and 41 percent said they'd engaged in violent behavior such as fighting, using a weapon or threatening someone with one.
However, nonheterosexual youth were 1.25 to three times more likely to be punished than their heterosexual peers who engaged in the same level of misbehavior. "And youth who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual actually engaged in less violence, which is the most serious type of misbehavior," said Himmelstein.
The study found that girls were punished particularly harshly, in another encouraging sign of American tolerance and open-mindedness.
The authors don't know exactly why schools and judges are such assholes to gay kids, but I bet you can think of some good reasons! Like, it could be that American society tacitly (and often explicitly!) encourages prejudice and discrimination against non-straights. Or, maybe, gay kids just deserve it more.