According to new research published by the American Psychological Association, a majority of Generation-Z teenage boys who self-identify as gay or bisexual report being out to their parents. However, researchers also found that stigma and religious beliefs still prevent some young teens from disclosing their sexual identity.
The study was published in the journal Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, and was launched in response to the “uptick in coming out among young people that researchers have noted in recent decades.”
Researchers analyzed survey data from nearly 1,200 boys born between 1998 and 2010, (aged between 13-18), all of whom identified as gay, bisexual, or as being attracted to people regardless of gender. The data had been collected as part of an HIV-prevention study between January 2018 and January 2020, according to EurekaAlert.org.
The study found that 66 percent of those surveyed were already out to their mothers or other female parental figures, and 49 percent were out to their fathers or other male parental figures.
In contrast, in the 1990s an estimated 40 percent of gay/bi adolescent boys were out to their mothers, and less than 30 percent of gay/bi boys were out to their fathers, researchers said.
According to the demographic data of those surveyed, white teen boys were more likely than Black teen boys to be out to a parent or parental figure. Those who identified as gay were more likely to be out to a parent than bisexuals or those who were unsure of their sexuality, and teens who were not fully accepting of their identity were less likely to come out than those who embraced their identity. Teens who said they were not religious were also more likely to be out to a parent than teens who identified as religious.
The lead author of the study, Dr. David A. Moskowitz, is an assistant professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University's Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing. He said the findings were encouraging in that it shows that many teens, including those under 18 years old, are comfortable with their sexuality.
“At the same time, we must be cautious, as the data also point to some of the same barriers and discrimination that previous generations have faced,” Dr. Moskowitz added. “Work still needs to be done.”