‘Sexual Minority Students’ Not Blameless for Drug Use, Drinking, and Sexual Violence

An analysis of the new CDC study on the sexual and other behaviors of LGB students.

By Dustin Siggins Published on August 16, 2016

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has just released a study on the sexual and other behaviors of heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual and sexually uncertain high school-aged teens. Non-heterosexual teens  reported significantly more drug and alcohol use, bullying and suffering violence, including relational sexual violence. For a report on the study’s findings, see The Stream‘s story here.

The authors of the report, titled Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Related Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9–12, argued that the problems of “LGB” students were the result of social prejudice and a lack of needed support from schools and other institutions.

Log Cabin Republicans president Gregory T. Angelo agreed, telling The Stream “A plurality — or even a majority — of support for the LGBT community by young Americans does not mean the next generation is devoid of homophobia or incapable of bullying and violence against their LGBT peers.”

Others disagree.

More Uncharitable Behaviors

Professor Robert Lopez, President of the International Children’s Rights Institute and a self-described bisexual, told The Stream that blame might fall on sexual minorities themselves as well as the schools. “It seems that the youths tagged as gay, lesbian, and bi have high incidents of many misbehaviors, like carrying weapons to school, cocaine use, steroids, getting in fights, and starting marijuana before they are 13,” he said in an email interview.

“For instance, gay teens report high rates of being beaten up by their significant others, of being forced to have sex against their will by people they are dating — which would imply that in the gay dating pool there are just a lot more uncharitable behaviors in general. It is simply impossible that all these outcomes are the result of homophobia.”

“We are hearing the usual and predictable responses from LGBT activists who say that homophobia’s rampant and more needs to be done for LGBT youth,” continued Lopez. “This is a questionable reading of the surveys considering that LGBT activists have had decades of support and overwhelming political sympathy from these younger generations of students, plus so much discipline is carried against any students who do homophobic things, it would seem utterly implausible that there’s a massive wave of anti-LGBT violence that we are only now discovering.”

Bullying a Serious Problem, Regardless of Sexuality

Father Paul Sullins, a Catholic priest and researcher at the Catholic University of America, told The Stream: “This is very high quality data, carefully collected by the CDC for many years to assess youth risk behaviors.”

Asked about treatment of gay, lesbian and bisexual students by their peers, Sullins said he is “not surprised that LGB youth would be subject to greater bullying. Most bullying in middle school or high school is due to non-conformity, as a way of stigmatizing youth who are different in some way. Since gay youth are only 2% of the student population (on this survey), and bisexual youth are only 6%, it is not surprising that they would be subject to greater bullying.”

Sullins noted that bullying isn’t limited to LBG students, highlighting the study’s finding that “kids who are obese also experience greater bullying” and girls experienced bullying “more than boys.” He said that while “the survey also does not specify who is doing the bullying” and “gay kids could be being teased by other gay kids,” he found the odds “unlikely.”

“Bullying is a serious problem in school, and anything that we can do to reduce it is a good thing, in my opinion,” said Sullins. “No student should be bullied or teased or worse because their sexual identity is different than that of another student. As a Catholic, I strongly agree with the teaching of the Church in condemning all unjust discrimination against homosexual persons.”

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