Middle School Youth More Open to Coming Out Sooner

Posted by on Oct 1, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Middle School Youth More Open to Coming Out Sooner, Article Reports
October 1, 2009 by Randy Thomas
Filed under Bi-sexuality, Educate, Featured, Gay, Homosexuality, Lesbian, Pop Culture, Post-gay, Schools, Sexuality, Youth & Young Adults
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Middle School Youth More Open to Coming Out Sooner, Article Reports

Written by: Chris Stump | September 29th, 2009 – Cross-posted at Exodus Youth.

An article was recently published in The New York Times reporting that middle school youth are more open to coming out earlier. It’s a rather lengthy article focusing on several middle school teens who have come out in their schools and to their families. It’s interesting to see how the climate has changed in middle schools even since I was there a little over ten years ago. Being gay was still somewhat taboo. It was only used as a humiliating term. You were labeled, but never did you claim that identity. I remember middle school being a very confusing time period for me and everyone else. In my day (which wasn’t too long ago), little identity clusters started to form in middle school. You had the “cool” kids, you had the “preppy” kids, and there were the nerds, and the unpopulars. Everyone was looking for an identity – wanting to fit in…somewhere.

Something that concerns me about what this article reports is all the kids who come out at twelve and thirteen years of age are embracing an identity based on their feelings. I don’t know about you, but I know when I was a middle schooler, my feelings were all over the place. They weren’t a trusted source for my identity. But that is what these youth are going by – how they feel towards others of the same-sex. They label and trap themselves in a sexual identity. Being gay becomes who they are entirely.

The article discusses how the climate has changed over the years, making it “easier” for middle school youth to come out. Popular culture has most certainly paved the way towards affirmation and acceptance with positive portrayals of gays and lesbians. But does that make it ok? I believe it pushes youth to an even greater identity crisis, urging them to accept an identity they may not even fully understand at the age of 11 or 12. With the glamorizing of bisexuality in the media with pop songs such as Katy Perry’s infamous “I Kissed a Girl”, it has become trendy and even posh for girls to be bisexual. Many of the students in the article mention a larger population of bisexual girls who seem to become more popular after they’ve divulged their sexual preference.

When there is positive reinforcement by peers, it’s hard not to embrace a label. Instead of encouraging the expression of their sexuality, we need to be concerned with the motivation of girls who claim to be bisexual. The media is saying it’s cool and hot. But it really only musters up more gender confusion.

Another thing that stuck out to me was when the author mentioned fluidity in sexuality. So many in the secular world agree with the idea that sexuality is a fluid thing. But how is it so hard to embrace the idea of people moving from a homosexual identity to a post-homosexual identity? That’s just another “expression” of sexuality being fluid. But, yet, it is scorned and ridiculed for being absurd.

Why is popular culture the most influential medium on youth today? It certainly does not have any moral compass. The message of pop culture is “be who you want to be/you are how you feel/do what you want”. Where it seems from this article that these middle school youth have found clarity in who they are, I believe it has only brought more confusion. Middle School could be described in my life by this one word: chaos. Feelings are swirling around, hormones are going haywire, and we’re desperately looking for an identity. This is the time in a young person’s life to not jump to any conclusions, and embrace an identity they don’t even quite understand. We are more than just our feelings. We are more than just who we are attracted to.

Instead of celebrating the earlier embrace of a gay identity, we need to be cautious and concerned. Embracing an identity based on feelings as an 11-13 year old child, whose brain is still developing and hormones are raging, is jumping the gun. Pop culture is steering the trends in our youth today, without a moral compass. Are we going to allow pop culture to be the only wisdom our youth hear?

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