Monday, February 25, 2013

Study Find More Acceptance of Gay Teens

The following article was published in the Houston Chronicle on Monday, February 4, 2013.

Associate Press

CHICAGO - It really does get better for gay and bisexual teens when it comes to being bullied, although young gay men have it worse than their lesbian peers, according to the first long-term scientific evidence on how the problem changes over time.

The seven-year study involved more than 4,000 teens in England who were questioned yearly through 2010, until they were 19 and 20 years old. At the start, just over half of the 187 gay, lesbian and bisexual teens said they had been bullied; by 2010 that dropped to 9 percent of gay and bisexual boys and 6 percent of lesbian and bisexual girls. The researchers said the same results likely would be found in the United States.

Changing attitudes
In both countries, a "sea change" in cultural acceptance of gays and growing intolerance for bullying occurred during the study years, which partly explains the results, said study co-author Ian Rivers, a psychologist and professor of human development at BruneI University in London. That includes a government mandate in England that schools work to prevent bullying, and changes in the U.S. permitting same-sex marriage in several states.

In 2010, syndicated columnist Dan Savage launched the "It Gets Better" video project to encourage bullied gay teens. It was prompted by widely publicized suicides of young gays and includes videos from politicians and celebrities.

"Bullying tends to decline with age regardless of sexual orientation and gender," and the study confirms that, said co-author Joseph Robinson, a researcher and assistant professor of educational psychology at the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign. "In absolute terms, this would suggest that yes, it gets better." The study appears online ... in the journal Pediatrics.

Nuanced results
Eliza Byard, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, said the results mirror surveys by her anti-bullying advocacy group that show bullying is more common in U.S. middle schools than in high schools.

But the researchers said their results show the situation is more nuanced for young gay men.

In the first years of the study, gay boys and girls were almost twice as likely to be bullied as their straight peers. By the last year, bullying dropped overall and was at about the same level for lesbians and straight girls. But the difference between men got worse by ages 19 and 20, with gay young men almost four times more likely than their straight peers to be bullied.

The mixed results for young gay men may reflect the fact that masculine tendencies in girls and women are more culturally acceptable than femininity in boys and men, Robinson said.

Savage, not involved in the study, agreed.

"A lot of the disgust that people feel when you bring up homosexuality ... centers around gay male sexuality," Savage said.


I am happy to say that my own personal experience with my gay friends bears out the finding of this recent study, thinks have gotten better though we still have a ways to go.

As I have mentioned many times, one of my best friends is one of my gay friends, Mike. I introduced Mike, who is not from Texas, to another gay friend who is from Texas about ten years ago. Before I knew it, they had fallen in love. Mike moved to Texas, and they are now partnered and doing well.

When Mike moved to Texas, I felt I had to warn him that Texas remains a conservative state and he and his partner needed to keep that in mind. Some Texans, I told him, could take any display of affection between two guys as an invitation to fight. "Keep a low profile," I warned him.

Sure enough, Mike had not been in Texas but a few weeks when he and his partner attended the Gay Pride Parade in downtown Houston. Mike is one of those guys who no one would ever pick to be gay. He is big and quite capable of taking care of himself. His partner, on the other hand, is a great guy; but he fits some of the usual gay stereotypes. Most people who pay any attention, suspect he is gay.

At the parade, the Houston Fire Department had a float from which they were throwing Mardi Gras type beads to the crowd. Innocently enough, Mike's partner assumed since the fire fighters were in the parade, they were gay friendly. In reality, they had probably been ordered by their chief to man the float to promote community relations. Mike's partner hollered at one of the fire fighters to throw him some beads. Instead of throwing them in the usual manner, he rolled them up in a ball and flung them as hard as he could, yelling, "Here you go faggot!"

That was a mistake on his part. Before the fire fighter knew what was happening, Mike had hauled him off the float and was beating the crap out of him. Police quickly broke up the fight; luckily, before Mike hurt him too badly. Now, everyone knows there is not a lot of love lost between the fire fighters and the police, but when it comes to choosing sides, the fire fighters and the police will often side with each other before they will side with a gay guy. Such was the case, Mike was introduced, not unjustly, to the the City Jail where he spent the night. When I chided him about not maintaining a low profile, he said it had been well worth the jail time. I told him he had no idea what he had done to that poor fire fighter. Not only had he beat him up, he had beat him up in front of his friends. For the rest of his career that poor fire fighter will have to hear about the time he was beat up by the queer!

But it was a good lesson for Mike and his partner, and they have been very careful in public since that incident. But as the article suggests, things really are changing. About a year ago Mike and his partner bought a new house. The house is located on a cul de sac with eight other homes in the 300K - 400K price range. The cul de sac is integrated racially with one black family, one family in which one spouse is white and the other black. The rest of the families are all white. Mike and his partner are the only gays. They almost didn't buy the house because they were afraid the neighbors, who are all older empty nesters would not be happy to see two young gay guys further integrate the cul de sac. Such was not the case. The neighbors have been more than friendly and helpful. They all get together on a regular basis for a pot luck dinner that rotates between the houses. Mike and his partner were quickly invited to join in. At a recent dinner at their home, Mike and his partner even had all the neighbors, even the men, line dancing to some upbeat music. The women all make over Mike's partner, and the men all think Mike is one of their own since he's as masculine as they are and can easily talk sports, as well as anything else, with them.

Last weekend Mike and  his partner took a long weekend to a beach house on Galveston Island. They enjoyed walking the beach on a a weekend with perfectly beautiful weather. Mike told me that for the most part the beaches were deserted along their stretch and they took long walks walking hand in hand and talking. On one such walk, they were walking hand in hand and oblivious to what was going on around them. All at once they were confronted with a pickup loaded with young men who appeared to be in their late teens and early twenties. No one else was around. Mike admitted he was startled and feared the worst, but he and his partner just smiled and waved at the guys. They all waved back and kept on driving up the beach. A few years ago it could have come out much differently.

America and Americans are definitely changing their attitudes towards gays. I personally think this is because nearly every family has now had to decide how they are going to react to a family member who has come out. They know from personal experience that gay guys are someone's son, nephew, grandson or brother, maybe even their own kin. They are not monsters who have an agenda to recruit as many straight guys as they can into the ranks of gay guys as the Fundamental Christians would have us believe. For the most part, they want what every American wants, to live their lives in peace and make their share of the American Dream their own.

They are doctors, lawyers, salesmen, even preachers. they are white collar and blue collar workers. For the most part, they are model citizens and model neighbors. They keep their property up and their homes are spotless. They tend to earn more than the average, they are better educated than average. They are, simply put, people anyone would be happy to have as friends and neighbors except those who can't get beyond "what they do together."

Fortunately, those people who can't get over it are more and more in the minority. Even among Christians, Christian lay people are decidedly more accepting of gays than are church officials. If it were put to a vote of members rather than having rules made by the church officials, most churches would openly admit gays to membership with full benefits therewith entitled.

The times, they are a changin. It's a wonderful thing to witness. I attended my first gay wedding last summer in a European country that is decidedly and  historically Catholic. Yet, the wedding was attended by friends and family and was a happy occasion just as it would have been had it been a heterosexual wedding.  When I told one of the quests at the reception that I was surprised that, in light of the country's Catholic history, civil partnerships had been so overwhelmingly legalized, he told me the Catholic church had lost all credibility for telling people how they should act in their sexual lives or what they should believe in sexual matters because of the priest/child sexual abuse scandals that have rocked both Europe and America.

I guess it is a confirmation that my mother was right when she use to tell me that God would use me. He'd use me as a force for good if he could. He'd use me as an example of evil if he had to, and from either, good would come.

Some of  you may feel you are not in a position to further and support the change in the acceptance of gays, but you're wrong if you feel that way. I'm in church most every Sunday. My faith is important to me, but I take every opportunity to let my fellow Christians know I believe gay people are as much loved by God as anyone else. I don't have to intentionally get into such conversations. I never have to bring it up. The subject is always being brought up all around me by either undoubtedly biased and bigoted Christians or by those who see the differing opinions of Christians on the matter and are honestly trying to figure out for themselves what their opinion as Christians should be.

Romans 8:37-39 confirms to Christians that nothing in either heaven or earth can ever separate any of us from the love of God. It's too bad that the people who scream most about the need to take the Bible literally do not take that passage literally.  But the day is growing ever closer. It will soon be at hand. The time is coming quickly when only the most bigoted and uneducated among us will see gay people as deserving of derision and unworthy of the civil rights enjoyed by straight people. Oh happy day!

Jack Scott


  1. "nothing in either heaven or earth can ever separate any of us from the love of God. It's too bad that the people who scream most about the need to take the Bible literally do not take that passage literally."

    I am a devout Christian and a gay man. I believe that Christianity delivers gay men sexual freedom, but in an entirely different manner than the what the gay culture preaches. The reason that your frottage posts are so highly read, is that frottage is the Holy way to male/male or female/female sexuality. Frottage allows total equality, total sharing, total vulnerability, and is pure natural affection.

    The passage you used has to be placed in context with the first verse of Romans 8: "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death."

    There simply is no condemnation for any Christian man that has a desire for intimacy for another man or a woman for another woman.

    The verses from Romans continue, showing the difference between flesh and spirit. (Sexuality and spirit at their core are the same desire: to have communion and intimacy with another.)

    "Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God."

    Much of what Apostle Paul writes about is a sexuality / spirituality guide. Sexuality is meant to be an incredibly wonderful gift, but because of history, most people consider sexuality to be dirty and far from the realm of Christianity. In fact, if you learn how to see it, the Bible is an incredibly erotic, yet sacred, book.

    The Old Testament defined what love isn't: love between two men can not include anal sex. Men (and women) may think anal sex is a loving act, but spiritually there is actually self-hate or hatred of others within that act. The desire for a man to have a another man's penis in his body is symptomatic that inherently he needs more masculinity within himself, but doesn't have that masculinity within his own spirit. But in fact he does have the ability to grow to a masculine wholeness, but that growth can only really grow with masculine but sensitive fellowship. Christian love between two men is not the desire to penetrate the other or to be penetrated, but to be equal and a healing presence to each other.

    Love always seeks intimacy, seeks to embrace another man, always seeks to kiss (actually a Christian command), to see into one another's eyes, to feel his masculinity and sensitivity, to be equal but at the same time to give and yet receive, to be in a spiritually blissful state with each other. Nothing destructive, nothing disease causing, nothing exploitative, nothing harmful to the body.

    The church is possibly as ignorant as it possibly could be with regards to sexuality/spirituality issues. People born gay were meant to have very special missions on this earth - and are disproportionally gifted with prophetic, healing, and miracle gifts within them.

    1. I appreciate your comments. Sounds like you have put a great deal of thought and study into the spirituality that is meant to be a part of sex.

      Like you, I've always considered sexual activity with a person important to me as a spiritual thing. I think a lot of people fail to achieve the full benefit of their sexual experiences simply because they see sex as only a physical thing and seek only physical sex. Such sex can be good, but it can never be all that sex should be.

      The only part of your letter that I don't agree with is that in which you assign motives to anal sex. Anal sex has never been something that is important to me. Frankly, I've never understood the appeal - at least for the bottom guy, though I do have some understanding of the top guy.

      But, in general, I just get very leery of universal assignations. It is very rare in any area of human behavior for a one-size-fits-all statement to really nail down the truth.

      Thanks again for a very interesting comment.

      Jack Scott


I deeply regret that I must reinstate the verification process for those who want to leave comments on my blog. This is due to the intolerable amount of spam that spammers are attempting to leave on the blog.

At the same time I am changing settings so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will not have to have your comments moderated. My hope is this will encourage more readers to take the time to comment. The fact is I want to read comments with those of you who disagree with me as well as those of you who agree with me. All I ask is that you keep your comments clean and non-threatening.

The only reason I take the time to write this blog is to spur your thoughts and comments. Please do not let the spammers cause you not to comment. I know entering the verification words and numbers is a pain in the ass, but I hope you will not let the spammers cause you not to comment.

I still very much look forward to hearing from you.

Jack Scott

Anyone can comment on what I write in this blog. Regretfully, the recent amount of spam in my email account as required that I reinstate the word verification process for comments which I personally hate.

But at the same time I have loosened the comment moderation process so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will no longer need to wait for your comment to be moderated. I'm hoping this will tempt you to take the trouble to comment.

The truth is I want respectful comments both from those who agree with me and those who do not. All I as is that you keep comments to the point, clean and non-threatenting.

I look forward to hearing from each of you.

Jack Scott