STUDY: Half of Teens With Lesbian Moms Face Stigmatization At School

According to a new study from the Williams Institute, exactly 50 percent of 17-year-olds who grew up with two moms felt like they were treated unfairly because of having a lesbian mom.

Says the study:

The results further revealed that teens’ peers were most often the source of negative comments, teasing or ridicule. Thirty percent of reported incidents occurred in elementary school and 39 percent occurred in high school.

“The findings suggest that educational systems could play an important role in preventing stigma incidents by discouraging homophobia in their anti-bullying programs,” said lead author Loes van Gelderen, MSc, University of Amsterdam.

In addition, nearly two-thirds of the studied teens used effective, adaptive coping skills. Most teenagers tried to comfort themselves while others confronted the perpetrators to make it clear that teasing and ridicule were unacceptable. Some choose to be with friends who were supportive of their family situation, or looked for social support by telling others what happened. Other teens, however, used coping skills that were less effective, such as trying to avoid confrontation. For example, one teenager said, “I soon learned to keep my mouth shut and use the term ‘parents’ instead of ‘moms’.”

While the Anoka-Hennepin school district has given us a tragic example of what happens when teachers aren’t allowed to stand up for anti-gay bullying, not much effort has been put into seeing how we can protect the children of gay parents from stigma.

So, yes, we need a message of “it’s okay to be gay,” but in these modern times of modern families, do we also need some new slogans to live by: “I’m glad to have two dads” and “I got mad aplomb for my two moms”?

Photo via AJ Alfieri-Crispin

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