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Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. Adolescence is a developmental period where young people are maturing physically, emotionally and socially as they transition into adulthood Erikson, ; Hill, Unfortunately, much of the extant research on LGB adolescent developmental factors has had a primary focus on traumatic life experiences such as victimization, harassment, and rejection, and the subsequent negative impact of such events on mental and physical health outcomes c.

Although the documentation and examination of various challenges faced by LGB adolescents is critical in helping researchers and practitioners to improve the life circumstances of LGB youth through different types of intervention, it is important to also highlight the strength and resiliency demonstrated by many LGB adolescents.

United States U. Unfortunately, federal U. Gay guys names studies suggest that outlets are not being provided for these youth to explore their identities and allow for a healthy and positive development. Data from multiple studies have demonstrated higher rates of verbal and physical victimization experienced by LGB adolescents as compared to their heterosexual counterparts, and the negative effects this victimization has on their physical and mental health c.

Few studies have specifically focused on strengths and resiliencies among Gay guys names youth. Interestingly, the study also highlighted that some of the participants who were open and proud of their sexual orientation simultaneously experienced feelings of ambivalence regarding their identity.

These youth expressed the difficulty in constructing a positive sexual orientation identity in the context of highly structured cultural and societal forces that give privilege to heterosexuality. These findings highlight the challenges LGB youth face in maintaining resiliency while having to actively counter hetero-normative pressures and oppression. The authors assert that even though these young men were living in a hetero-normative Puerto Rican culture with pervasive homophobia and cultural stigma, they developed resiliency strategies that helped them to overcome potential obstacles.

The development of strong ties with members of their social support network in order to assist with integrating their sexual orientation identity with their Latino identity and the ability to adapt to changes were noted as key strengths exhibited by the youth. While continuing research is needed on the developmental challenges faced by LGB adolescents, especially those who are also members of other oppressed groups such as youth of color, a parallel line of scientific inquiry is also needed to explore the strengths and resiliencies demonstrated by LGB youth.

Most of these studies have been limited by utilizing retrospective data reports from adult LGB individuals or relying solely on quantitative measures of sexual orientation identity.

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This approach provides a general structure for discussion regarding sexual orientation identity but requires participants to provide their own terminology and definitions based on their life experiences and perceptions, thus avoiding the limitations of researcher-imposed terminology and concepts. Participants for the present study were 63 male youth who self-identified as gay or bisexual and were between ages of 15 and 22 at the time of recruitment.

All participants were recruited from Chicago and Miami community-based agencies and venues that target non-heterosexual male youth. Recruitment efforts were conducted by an ethnically diverse group of undergraduate, graduate, and Ph. Once eligibility for the larger study was established, youth who expressed an interest in study participation completed a self-administered questionnaire in a private setting. Informed consent was obtained before participants took the self-administered questionnaire.

Demographic and quantitative data from the questionnaire were used to create a purposive, stratified sampling frame for the qualitative portion of the larger study. The specific sampling stratification factors utilized were selected in accordance with the multiple identity development focus of the larger study; thus other potentially meaningful factors such as socioeconomic status and educational attainment were not used to create the strata.

Approximately two to six weeks after completing the quantitative survey, selected participants were contacted by phone or for participation in the interview. Sixty-three qualitative interviews were completed. Data for this study primarily came from the section of the interview focused on sexual orientation identity, although other sections of the interview did offer pertinent data.

For each identity area, participants were first asked to define their identity using their own words and conceptualizations. They were then guided through an in-depth exploration of factors that have influenced each specific identity development. Within these areas, youth provided s of their experiences. However, they were also encouraged to discuss additional information that was not covered in the interview guide but that was personally relevant in their identity development.

The in-depth interviews were conducted by an ethnically diverse research staff of self-identified, non-heterosexual doctoral graduate students and Ph. All interviewers were trained by the primary investigator on all aspects of data collection, including rapport building, administration of the semi-structured interview, gay guys names debriefing.

The interviews took place in private offices at the community recruitment site or the sponsoring university, depending on participant preference. At the end of the interview, all participants were debriefed in order to follow up on any statements made during the interview that may indicate psychosocial distress, and to allow for any questions or comments by the youth. All interviews were audio taped and later transcribed by a professional transcriptionist.

Unique identifiers, rather than names or personally identifying information, were ased to each interview in order to protect confidentiality. The first step in data analysis involved a reading of all interview transcripts in order to increase familiarity with the data. Marginal notes and preliminary thematic codes were then created based on the initial patterns observed.

When an initial set gay guys names codes was developed, the list was used to re-examine the data to ensure validity of gay guys names. Old codes were amended and new ones were created, and transcripts were re-examined and recoded where necessary to ensure that all transcripts were coded accurately and completely. The data were entered into the computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software QSR NVivo to facilitate data storage, coding, and organization.

Data matrices were also created as visual representations of the findings, and to assist with the identification of critical factors and emerging themes. Within each major category, several primary themes and sub-themes emerged. Names of participants are replaced with a pseudonym to protect their identity—all age, ethnic identity, and sexual orientation labels listed are those reported by the youth.

Within the theme of flexibility, three sub-themes emerged— sexual flexibilityenvironmental flexibility and gender flexibility. With regard to sexual flexibilitybisexual young men described the ability to have sexual relations with both males and females. One youth commented that being bisexual allowed him to not feel constrained to one sexual orientation category. Um, positive things?

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I don't know. I get to like girls and boys, I guess. Um, I have to classify, I really have a problem with classifying myself. Like that's really an issue with me. I don't like to be classified as one thing, because then it doesn't really make you who you are.

It's kind of this blending with the rest of the people. Justin, 18 year old, multi-racial bisexual male. In this aspect, the participant gained strength from resisting stereotypes associated gay guys names sexual orientation classification.

He felt that by not identifying as gay or straight, he was able to be himself around others. Another aspect of flexibility discussed by participants was the concept of environmental flexibility. In this sub-theme the young men did not discuss the need to escape from unsafe spaces, but rather emphasized the benefits of visiting places specifically tailored to LGBT youth.

Well, I really think I'm really lucky when it comes to that. Like there's just so much available now that like I really like to utilize. Like there's so many organizations, like I go over to [ name of agency ] and there's gays everywhere.

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And um, there's just all, there's dances to go to. I love to go dancing. And I mean, it's just like if you like really sit down, like count your blessings, there's so gay guys names out there that I'm really like grateful for and like that I really am lucky to have available to me, like when it comes to in terms of like things that are oriented for my sexuality and for people that are like, and for places that I can go and be safe, doing whatever, and stuff like that.

That's very important to me. Paul, 16 year old, Italian gay male. A third sub-theme, which emerged as a positive conceptualization, was gender flexibility. Participants who discussed gender flexibility reported the ability to experiment with gender roles. Specifically, the youth spoke about their ability to display both masculine and feminine traits.

You can kind of be who you are and not have to worry about um, being masculine or being ah, a stereotypical man. Michael, 22 year old, White gay male. Similar to the example on sexual flexibility, this participant utilized a strategy of resisting stereotypes specifically associated with gender. Many of the adolescents who spoke about gender flexibility offered their views on the concept of masculinity, and gay guys names being a man has been constructed by society.

Individuals whose responses reflected this sub-theme expressed a sense of freedom, as well as a sense of strength gained from rejecting stereotypes associated with being a man. The second major theme identified as a positive conceptualization was connectedness. Participants focused these internal messages either on being connected with females or connected to the gay community.

The youth who described a connection with females emphasized that females generally find gay men trusting and valuable in providing emotional support, as compared to heterosexual men. Well, I mean, there's a lot of things. I mean, like um, I feel like um, women are more trusting of me because I'm gay.

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Um, um, which is a plus, because I'm kind of gonna be that rock in a way, like they can come to me and talk to me about stuff. However, I mean, I guess I was coming up like that figure anyways before, but it's definitely more so now. Sean, 21 year old, Eastern European gay male. Another participant who commented on connectedness with females argued that the reason for this closeness is the fact that straight men typically befriend women for sexual purposes, while gay men gay guys names not.

Some youth expressed a sense of connection to the gay community. They discussed feeling connected to other individuals who had gone through similar experiences and their ability to bond through hardships. Participants also expressed the ability to form social support groups with other gay people. Positive things about being gay? Um, it's, it's very easy to, to, when you do find somebody that is, that is very similar to yourself, it's very easy to find a connection with them because they've endured a lot of the same hardships that you have and, and you, and it's easy to talk, I feel like it's very easy to talk to somebody else who is gay, because they've experienced a lot of the same things that I have in coming and developing their identity.

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Patrick, 20 year old, White gay male. Participants expressed their resiliency in four ways, including acceptanceself-care, rejection of stereotypesand activism. Inherent in many of the themes and sub-themes in this section is the acknowledgement and confirmation that these youth have experienced various forms of oppression and marginalization related to their sexual orientation, but they demonstrated resiliency and strength in the face of these negative forces.

Youth who discussed messages of acceptance either centered their responses on self-acceptance or acceptance by others. The youth who described self-acceptance argued that exploring their sexuality allowed for the opportunity to be who they are, which resulted in greater feelings of happiness. Um, positive about being gay?

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Ah, well, just because it is what I am, um, the more I come to accept it, the more fun I have, I guess, with it. Ben, 20 year old, White gay male. Several of the youth reported acceptance by others as another form of resiliency. Now the positives, like my friends and stuff, they're the ones I kick it with, them, I'm acting like, okay, we gonna go, we gonna go out with him and we just gonna have fun.

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What’s Good about Being Gay?: Perspectives from Youth