Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
and Questioning Youth
Suzy R. Thomas
Timothy G. Larrabee
University of California, Davis
Gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth are a largely invisible minority group at serious risk for a variety of physical, emotional, and social problems. Because of widespread societal prejudice and lack of awareness, school counselors and other school personnel have, in general, failed to protect or serve this vulnerable group. The estimate that 10% of the general population has a same-sex or bisexual orientation (Bass & Kaufman, 1996; Buhrke, 1989; Kinsey, Pomeroy, & Martin, 1948; Kinsey, Pomeroy, Martin, & Gebhard, 1953) means that there may be up to three million gay, lesbian, and bisexual teenagers in the world (Herdt, 1989; Price & Telljohann, 1991). Although these figures have been disputed, it is safe to assume that there are gay, lesbian, and bisexual students in every school.
Many gay1 adolescents experience isolation, rejection, and internalized lack of self-acceptance. Gay people of all ages face discrimination, harassment, and violence, much like any other minority group. Unlike other minorities, however, gays, lesbians, and bisexuals commonly do not have the support of or solidarity with their families (Telljohann & Price, 1993). An African American, Jewish, or Latino/Latina youth will not be expelled from his or her home for being African American, Jewish, or Latino/Latina, whereas a gay or lesbian youth might be (Martin & Hetrick, 1988).____________________