1/14/2009

Gay Teens Have Higher Pregnancy Rates

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's 1893 painting In BedImage via WikipediaThis is not altogether surprising to me based on the experiences of other gay and lesbian people I know. A study in British Columbia has found the Lesbian and Gay teens much more likely to either become pregnant or impregnate a girl. Lesbian teens were 2.5 times more likely to become pregnant than their straight counterparts while Gay boys were 3 to 4 times more likely to get a girl pregnant.

According to an article on CTV.ca:

Saewyc said it is a common misconception that gay boys don't have sex with girls.

"We assume that sexual attraction, sexual behaviour and sexual identity are going to be 100 per cent consistent for people. And that's not the case. Especially not for teenagers," she said from Vancouver.

"So they may know who they're attracted to. They may identify. But they're not necessarily only going to be having sex with their same gender."

Gay and lesbian teens may have sex with members of the opposite sex for a variety of reasons. Some do it to hide, to deflect the abuse that they see inflicted on gay, lesbian and bisexual teens. They call it "camouflage."

"For some, it may be that they've been told that this is abnormal and wrong and they may think: `Well, if I just have sex with enough opposite-gender people that will cure me,"' Saewyc said.

"And for some, it is camouflage. It's passing. For some, it's curiosity -- `Well, how do I know I'm really gay until I've tried and decided no, I really don't like that?"'

David Wolfe, a clinical psychologist who has a chair in children's mental health at Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, said the way to address the elevated pregnancy rates among bisexual, gay and lesbian teens is to find ways to stop making them feel so stigmatized.

"The take-away (message) to me is we have to normalize in our education of teens around such sexual orientation," Wolfe said in an interview from London, Ont. "It's much like racism and sexism has always been -- it's still something that's permitted to continue in the schools."

He said there needs to be more openness in the education process about the fact that there are different sexual orientations.

That certainly was the experience of many people I have known over the years. My very gay best friend in high school dated and even got engaged to a woman before coming to his senses and breaking it off. His reasoning was that he needed cover because he was going into education.

Another friend dated many women as a teenager and college age youth. More than one got pregnant and needed an abortion. He finally came out, but his reason for throwing himself into the heterosexual scene was abuse early in life by a relative. He was told that all all gay people were pedophiles and because he was attracted to men naturally he fought his urges by sleeping with as many women as possible. Unfortunately, the denial led to a few suicide attempts and a standing appointment for his partners at Planned Parenthood.

Luckily, I had an older brother who was gay. I knew I was attracted to men early on and did not deny my feelings. Therefore, I never had sex with women, never impregnated one and never had to help one get an abortion or try to support a child. I suppose, in light of this study, I'm quite lucky.


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

No comments:

Links