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coming out in school •

According to new findings from a study conducted on 245 LGBT young adults from California aged 21 to 25, being open about one’s own sexuality while in school or high school paves the way for a more balanced life for the individual, with an increased self-esteem and fewer chances of getting depressed. The study was also supported by the Family Acceptance Project, which is a research and education initiative that takes place at the San Francisco State University. It is strongly involved in promoting the well-being of LGBT children and teenagers.

Being open while they are still adolescents makes it more easier for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people to integrate according to who they are and thus aids them establish their role and place in society with ease. Moreover the authors said in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry that trying to hide one’s true sexuality actually results in more abuse and a continually decreasing self-esteem.

So in other words, what it mandatory right now is to create the adequate environments in which young people feel safe and tolerated so as to be able to truly figure out who they are, or, as Stephen Russell, the study’s lead author said:

“supporting environments so that all kids can figure out and be as true to themselves as they can be. (…) “Until now, a key question about balancing the need to protect LGBT youth from harm while promoting their well-being has not been addressed: Do the benefits of coming out at school outweigh the increased risk of victimization?”

Russell is an expert on adolescent mental health at the University of Arizona in Tucson and decided to make this research when a high school in Okeechobee, Florida wanted to forbid students from creating an LGBT-straight alliance group. The students won the battle after all, but the question regarding their coming out while teenagers still remained.

In other words the study undoubtedly concluded that LGBT-influenced abuse during school was directly linked to difficult and negative adjustment throughout young adulthood. Trying to hide their sexuality only increased abuse.

Stephen Russell also underlined the need for this study to be done in other places throughout the U.S. as well.

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