A new study has warned of just how dangerous it can be for LGBTIQ young people to hide their sexuality.
The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that 46% of the closeted teenagers reported suicidal thoughts or behaviours, compared to 22% of those who were open about their sexuality.
The researchers surveyed nearly 7,000 high school students from across the US and examined “sexual orientation discordance,” defined as when a person’s internal sexual desire doesn’t match their actions and behaviour.
The students were asked 99 questions about health and risk behaviors, two of which focused on sexual orientation.
About 4 percent of the teens had experienced “sexual orientation discordance”, the responses showed. That number rose to 32 percent of the gay and lesbian students, and fell to 3 percent of straight students.
“Discrimination, stigma, prejudice, rejection, and societal norms may put pressure on sexual minorities to present a sexual identity inconsistent with their true sexual identity or to act in a manner inconsistent with their sexual identity,” the researchers told Reuters.
“Understanding… the challenges that adolescents experiencing discordance may encounter will help strengthen overall suicide prevention approaches in youth.”
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