Risky Business

Were We All Slutty, Binge-Drinking, Drug-Taking Teens?

Ok, ok. Maybe not all of us got handjobs while tripping on ecstasy at a warehouse rave when we were 13, but a recent study by the CDC did find that LGBT teens were more likely to engage in risky behavior involving drinking, drugs and sex in comparison to their straight counterparts.

The study attributes the findings to LGBT teens growing up with a lack of supportive environment.

An earlier study pointed to similar findings–that gay teens are more likely to binge drink, attempt suicide and contract an STD at a younger age, all of which has been linked to anti-gay bullying.

“We all remember times in our teenage life when doing ‘bad’ things (or saying that we did them) made us feel either more accepted or drew attention away from the real problems we were facing, in many cases problems involving bullying and self-worth,” Marke Bieschke, co-author of Queer: The Ultimate LGBT Guide for Teens, told Queerty.

“The positive thing is that the CDC is investing resources into studying queer kids’ lives,” Bieschke adds. “Encouraging gay youth to talk about what they’re experiencing, and recommending action to make things better for teens now before these behavior patterns carry through into their adult lives.”

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  • valentine ghost

    “The study attributes the findings to LGBT teens growing up with a lack of supportive environment.”

    Let’s see how many news outlets choose to ignore this bit.

  • Mike in London UK

    Check ..

    Slutty? .
    … yeah .. definitely.

    Binge Drinking
    … maybe .. if you count a few pints at the student bar

    Drug Taking
    … oh no … definitely never never never .. hmmm munchies

  • EdWoody

    Drank modestly, never taken a drug in my life unless you count chocolate, and would have been a slut if I’d had the self confidence. As it was I didn’t enter my slutty phase till mid-20s.

  • Elloreigh

    That would be no, no and no.

  • jeff4justice

    In addition to the lack of supportive environment, I wonder how much of the risky behavior involving drinking, drugs and sex is influenced by the glorification of those things in LGBT media and entertainment?

    What do young LGBT people see as an alternative to aspire to other than conforming to the party culture?

    I opine about this more in my vlog: Dumbing Down Of Gay/LGBT People

  • Thomas Henry Wartell

    I used to be that boy until I got clean and went to AA meetings

  • Fagburn

    “Maybe not all of us didn’t get” ????

  • pedro

    These statistics are sad. I must lead a very boring life…too busy with school I guess…

  • Michael

    @jeff4justice: That’s odd because I could have sworn binge drinking, partying and having sex was just as glorified in the straight culture. I guess “Jersey Shore” is just about a bunch of gay people.

    Maybe gay youth resort to drugs and whatever they need to in order to escape reality.

  • Mike

    I was a dorky virgin in high school.

  • ashenst8

    @pedro: Same here :-/

  • jeff4justice

    @Michael: Amen. I agree with you. All part of the dumbing down of people in general to submit to tyrannical economic slavery and suppress human potential to satisfy the power elite who fear that empowering all people to have an equal chance at prosperity endangers their servant class pool.

    I raise the issue to discuss where in the duplication of the countless LGBT groups is an effort to ensure all LGBT people are reached out to and given the tools and funding and opportunity to develop LGBT community?

    Where are the well-to-do LGBT adults mentoring fellow LGBT folk on the poor side of life let alone the youth? Instead, there’s plenty of sugar daddies all to happy to exploit instead of empower.

  • Jon

    I didn’t get that way until like 25. I blame Catholicism for my delay in debauchery.

  • George412

    Never did a drug in my life. Didn’t drink until I was 21 and didn’t have sex till 22.

    Aren’t LGBT youth growing up in a more supportive environment today than any gay teens that came of age in the 70s, 80s or even 90s? They certainly see positive role models and gay images in media and have resources online and in communities that earlier generations never had.

  • Alex Grae

    I mean I think thats what all teenagers are doing. I was the token gay and all my friends were straight. We were all slutty. We all Drank and we definitely experimented with drugs. We were young.

  • Mark

    In my teens, slutty drunk and stoned was DEFINITELY the norm. But now as a gay dad with 2 kids, don’t let the cat out of the bag!!!

  • Red Meat

    It is sad but true for gay teens. Where do they go once they find out they are gay and don’t want to tell their parents. A gay club? An LGBT center so they can talk about their “emotions” and hear others? Pathetic choices. Only the luck few that are able to come out to their close relatives, friends, or parents first build the healthy relationships early on in the right settings for the rest of their lives.

  • kiaba360

    18, still a virgin, haven’t used any kind of drug or alcohol, I think my amount of self-control gets in the way of me getting reckless in any sort of way, tbh, I kinda hate that about myself lol.

  • Niki

    Not me, I was a parent’s dream. (not counting that rebellious phase at age 12) I got good grades, and never drank, smoked, or did a drug in my life. I wasn’t promiscuous as a teen either because I was in the closet in high school. (college is a different story)

  • Jeffree

    I was a low-impact teen. After the h€ll my parents went through getting me through elem/middle school (problems with reading/ writing/ math), highschool was a cakewalk.

    Some drinking & smoking, no drugs. Made some bass-ackward attempts at sex that my folks never heard about, but they were still fun!

    Good friends, lots of afterschool activities & some awàrds for this & that.
    No arrests & No pregnancies. That’s what counted, where I’m from…

    I ricocheted out of that town soon as I graduated, with my parents’ blessing, and didn’t go as overboard as I thought I would, but hey, there’s still time.

  • SteveH

    Drinking and drugs were very common among straight kids, too.

    The difference might not be in the use. The difference might be in the probability of being caught. Or even, in the probability after being caught, of actually being prosecuted.

    If the authority identifies with the kid, he/she might be more likely to give the kid some ‘counseling’, and less likely to actually arrest. If the authority disapproves of the gay kid, he/she might be more likely to arrest.

  • A Former Gay Teenager

    I write this as a former gay teenager.

    I came out when I was seventeen (to a gay friend in high school). He took me to a gay teen club in KC. He gave me my first BJ in the parking lot. Second time I went with him to the club, naive as I was, an older man asked me to go for a ride with him — he sexually assaulted me.

    One year later, I gave a ride to someone else I thought was safe, he put a knife to my throat and sexually assaulted me. He stalked me afterwards for several weeks; making phone calls to my parent’s house where I lived as a kid. He demanded that I met him again. He also said he knew when I got out of school in the afternoons. But, I could tell no one in my family of my terror.

    My dad was an ex-marine. He would have kicked me out of the house if he knew I was gay. Luckily, I told another gay friend about it, and he told this older Italian Gay bar owner friend of his. He, and his “gang” wanted me to arrange a rendezvous so they could met this guy and then take him apart. I warned the guy about what was going to happen to him; he took off and swore never to bother me again. I was still traumatized over the whole incident; I started ditching school and got into some pretty self-destructive behavior afterwards experimenting with drugs.

    After high school graduation, I met a really nice guy, he took me to his place, I was still a teen, he was sweet until he started drinking, then he turned from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde. He date-raped and beat me. The next day, he acted like nothing happened when he took me home. I refused to see him again. Then around X-mas time, I caught a bus from a friend’s house to go home for Xmas. There was hardly anyone on the streets. It was a beautiful night with just a light dusting of snow, sugar-coating everything outside. The snowflakes falling on my face felt like angel kisses.

    Very few people rode the city bus that night; late on Christmas eve, most were home with their families. When the last two people, an elderly man and a woman got off the bus, the driver asked me to come up front and sit by him. He pulled out a bottle and asked me if I wanted some. I declined. He then told me what a very pretty little blond boy I was. I got scared. I was eighteen, but I was only 5’9” 125lbs, blond/blue and with a very slight build which made many other people think that I was only fourteen years old.

    The bus driver then pull over from the main road across from a city cemetery and, before he turn off the lights in the bus, he pulled the visor down overhead and showed me his gun and asked me: “You’re not going to give me any trouble are you?”. My mind floated above me as my body was being lead to the back of the bus were he raped it. Afterward he turned the lights back on in the bus and drove the last five blocks ahead to the bus stop near my home and, just as I stepped off the bus in a daze, he turned and wished me a Merry Christmas; then went back on his way.

    When I was nineteen, my friends took off and left me alone at a coffee shop that was a popular social gathering place for gay kids in KC. They didn’t come back, so I walked a few blocks after 11pm to find a bus stop. It was February, but I still remembered the incident on the city bus that past Christmas like it was yesterday. I was hesitant to take another bus home late at night.

    Then someone familiar drove by and offered me a ride some, he told me that the buses weren’t running after 11pm on that route. I recognized him from the unmarked blue Malibu car he was driving. He was a cop who often cruised around the Country Club Plaza. Everyone knew him. I heard the police radio in his car. He told me he would give me a ride home. I wasn’t doing anything wrong, but he was cop after all. Gays and cops – like oil and water. Still, I felt a little intimidated by his authority. I had no other way home; the temperature was in the upper teens and I was at least five miles from my family’s house.

    He said he had seen me hanging around the Plaza with my young friends. He said that it was ok, he knew we were all gay. Then he said, after a short while, “Hey, how about giving me a little relief here?” I thought, oh god, what am I, a human magnet for every sex criminal in the city? He wanted a BJ, but then changed his mind and pulled the car over down a dark street. Then he tore my clothes off while scratching, biting, and choking me while he raped me.

    I took to carrying a straight razor in my jacket after the first few attacks, but I knew I couldn’t use it. Afterwards, he looked more angry than guilty, I pretended that it was all right and that I liked him. I thought if I did not placate him then my body would be found frozen in the snow the next day somewhere in a ditch. He took me a few block from my home and dropped me off. I walked home with blood running down my legs. When I got home I took a half a bottle of some pills I found in my mom’s medicine cabinet, but it didn’t kill me. I slept for three days though.

    For two years after that I dated no one but girls. It felt safer. I gave up trying to find love with a man. When I was twenty-three I found a young man around my age. We fell in love and we have been together ever since then for many years now.

    Finally…a Happy Ending!

    And yes, life is more than a bitch for some gay teens. Life is often the deepest pit in Hell; especially, when there are NO supportive environments — no supportive social and family structures — to help gay teens out both emotionally and spiritually.

    Perhaps, it is time to remind America that our country IS our family, and it must do everything it can do to protect all of Her children — without exception.

  • Jeffree

    @Former Gay Teenager:
    Such a harrowing story, that I was actually afraid it was going to end with you becoming an “ex-gay.” It’s a sign of your strength that you survived so much and got not just through it, but also past it.. I fill up with rage when I think how many teens are lost to the streets and the alleys.

    I’m also glad you found love. Sounds cheesy said that way, but I can’t think of a better phrase.

    I’m often quick to blame our struggles on the religious people who seek 2 keep us second-class & who call us words like “evil” & “lost” — but like you point out, some of our “elders” prey on the young even though they *should* be the ones providing help & safety to our LGBT youth.

    I hope you’ll comment here again when you can. And i hope your reminder about protecting “our own” is heard, loud, clear & far.

  • LandStander

    Does anyone think that maybe, just maybe, out LGBT youth are just more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to -admit- it? Perhaps out LGBT youth are not doing drugs and sexing-it-up a great deal more than hetero students, they are just more likely to tell the truth about it when they are asked? Its certainly possible that a LGBT youth who is comfortable enough with their sexuality to be out, is more comfortable answering honestly in a survey/study about sex. Its also possible that these youth, who already have tons of experience in disapproval and have dealt with it, are less inclined to lie about drug use simply to avoid it.

  • Former Gay Teenager

    Thanks, Jeffree. Whenever I see bright and lovely wild flowers, impervious to the ugliness around it, growing towards the sun from a mountainous heap of garbage at a smelly city land fill, I see hope. The Buddha once said: “Be a lamp unto yourself.” No one can extinguish the light in our souls — not even us. We may close our eyes to it from time to time, but it is still there when we open them again.

    Once I saw an image of an infant born with two heads. I still feel sad because I know somebody’s heart is breaking for that child, somewhere, who smiles blissfully while mono-cephaloids regard two eyes; two ears, and two gonads as better than one — but an extra head is too much baggage for those who still insist that life must be pretty.

    I’m grateful that my own grotesques reside on the other side of my eyeballs, of which I, normal at least on the outside, still have two, and that my pet gargoyles who constantly rearrange the furniture in my own dark cathedral, do not fly beyond these tunnels into the daylight to frighten children. My mind is just a sliver of shadow that falls between the light which is me and the rock that is the world.

    My conceit as a artist requires me to reconstruct that which I pull apart. Fragmentation is death; it is an incomplete canvas. It’s a triptych with the middle piece missing. I once thought that If I were the child with two heads, my soul would scream for the painter’s gesso to blank me out; roll me back, and rethink me to a new beginning.

    God is an uncritical artist with not enough conceit to demand perfection; an idiot-savant who cannot even appreciate the beauty and the ugliness it creates.

    So what is wrong with being born with two heads in a world of one headed people? While unquestioned conformity is soul-death;involuntary non-conformity is a living horror to some. Why start life as a witless victim, when one should have their entire life to cultivate their own villains for different occasions; baked in life’s experience in different flavors suited for every passion’s taste. Why have them thrust upon you from the very beginning without a careful screening?

    Too bad a fetus can not abort their parents or society. Or at least be born in a heaven filled with two headed saints and sung to sleep at night by LGBT angels.

    Then, in some ways, I’m glad I’m a little different too. But the world is not happy that some of us do not follow the usual herds on their well-trodden, mundane migratory paths to their crocodile infested watering holes. They both envy and hate us for our courage to go off-road in life. I stand naked and tremble in that truth; with fear and love I embrace it. I realize now that I am also that two-headed baby at the carnival in the glass jar. It was just my reflection I was once afraid of — now I rejoice in it. It’s good to be gay.

    Someone once said that dogs and cats were put on Earth to teach little children how to learn to love. Perhaps, LGBT people were put on Earth to teach heterosexual adults, eventually, how much better it is not to hate. One can only hope.

  • InLikeInk

    When are people going to realize that high risk sexual behavior is a guy thing, not a gay thing. Men, not gay men . . . but men are sluts by their gender. If a young teenaged male could find a girl who was as big a slut as him, then their risky behavior would be identical to our own. If we got laid more as teens, and engaged in other types of behavior that is considered risky, it is because we did not have to talk a girl intro doing those things, we only had to approach another guy who was already ready to go the distance. Don’t think for one second that a little hetero male is less a slut than his gay counterpart.

    I am tired of hearing the negative things about gay teens and men. Lets not forget that teenaged rape is practically non existent between gay men, but much more frequent with a little hetero hormone who can’t get a girl to do what he wants. I am also sure that the financial burden that teen pregnancies puts on society is largely due to hetero males. There may some unwanted teen pregnancies that a young gay teen is responsible for, but you could still lay some of the responsibility at the door of a hetero-based society that stigmatizes and threatens young gay teens for their orientation.

    So lets be real. Men, gay and straight are sluts. We’re just lucky that we don’t have to bounce our sexuality off of women.

  • delurker

    @A Former Gay Teenager: holy sh*t! what a life. makes me kinda glad i was homely, gawky and basicially un-rapeable as a teen. but seriously, that’s sad, and glad things are better.

  • jeff4justice

    @A Former Gay Teenager: I am so sorry all that bad stuff happened to you.

    Are there any LGBT groups/centers in your area? I’m curious about that.

    In any case, no one deserves to experience that. Bravo to you for keeping on keeping on.

    I do not condone lying except to save your life. I’d suggest if anyone tries anything like that again tell them your a Senator’s nephew and if you get hurt the media will be all over it or something like that.

    Another option is that when you are able to afford it, take a self-defense class.

  • jeff4justice

    @Former Gay Teenager: Also, if you, or anyone on this site ever needs a phone chat or an IM chat, my contact info can be accessed if you click on my screen name (jeff4justice) next to my photo. Pace be with you brother.

  • A Former Gay Teenager

    Thanks, “delurker” and “jeff4justice”…like I said, this happen many years ago — in fact, a lifetime ago — but the scars are still there. I still regret that there was no one at the time I could turn to in my family. There are so many broken children and damaged adults wandering aimlessly through life like the walking wounded. I have my art and my writing to help me give voice to my angst. Too many others cannot find a voice to vent their pain. In some cases, many of them do great harm to themselves, and sometimes to others, because of their inability to exorcise those demons of the past. I am more fortunate than some in that I have found a loving, supportive man to whom I am bound body and soul. We got married four years ago in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

    I remain an eternal optimist. I still believe in our better angels. I’m no Frost or Longfellow, but I find poetry a way to paint with words what I cannot easily put into prose. I’ve been published in several anthologies and recently wrote the poem below which somewhat reflects the precarious balance of shadow and the light in my life.

    ~ Until The Stars Come Out ~

    I do not want the bareness of trees
    whose dark protruding bones
    impale the white sterility of Winter;
    I want only the swell and tumble of leaves
    and wind-tossed sunbeams
    that will not let the darkness enter.

    I do not want the cold deceptions
    and icy tapestries of December,
    but rather Springtime and Summer
    with sweet scents to remember,
    where regrets are few and sorrows slumber.

    I do not want a life frozen in reality
    a life which does not know what freedom means,
    of that, I prefer my loneliness to its lies;
    I want only to be left alone to dream
    on butterfly wings in warm embracing skies,
    until the stars come out and Winter calls me home to die.

    ~ B.E. 2011

  • JM

    @LandStander: Great point! It is very possible that LGBT kids are more likely to be honest about risky behaviour than their straight counterparts. It’s as simple as “well, I’ve already told them about my sexuality…”; for them, there is less incentive to lie given the very sensitive information they have already been honest about!

    We learned about such under- or over- reporting in 1st yr. psychology at University… statistics being a big part of that course and all. That’s not to say there isn’t a hell of a lot of partying (and associated behaviours) among young gays! Just that (as I discovered as a closet teen) there is less of a gap in frequency of behaviour, and more one in the frequency of reporting.

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