This article was published on April 28th, 2021
More Generation Z gay and bisexual teenage boys are out to their parents compared to their predecessors, Gen Y (millennials), at the same age.
This is according to research published in the journal Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity by the American Psychological Association.
Of those surveyed, 66% were out to their mothers and other female parental figures, while slightly less than half were out to their fathers and other male parental figures.
In contrast, only 40% of adolescent boys were out to their mothers and less than 30% out to their fathers among millennials in the 1990s.
Anyone born from 1997 up to the early 2010s is part of Gen Z, according to Pew Research.
What’s driving the changes?
Society has come a long way in understanding and appreciating diversity among individuals. Not so long ago, and even now, homosexuality was demonized. Indeed, some organizations even offered gay conversion therapies to “pray the gay away.”
However, as scientific understanding grows around sexuality and gender identity, people have become more accepting of LGBTQ+ individuals.
We’re still far away, though, from full acceptance and equality.
Expanded views and understanding of human sexuality may explain the higher numbers of Gen Z’s coming out to their parents. It also shows Gen Z is more comfortable with their sexuality.
“This study is encouraging in that it shows that many teens, including those under 18 years old, are comfortable with their sexuality,” said lead author David A. Moskowitz, Ph.D., assistant professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University’s Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing.
At the same time, barriers to full acceptance still exist, such as stigma and rigid religious beliefs that prevent young people from disclosing their sexuality.
David Moskowitz continues, “we must be cautious, as the data also point to some of the same barriers and discrimination that previous generations have faced. Work still needs to be done.”
Coming out – a Gen Z teen view
Despite the higher number of Gen Z teen boys coming out, glaring disparities exist. For instance, the study found that white participants were more likely than their black counterparts to be out to parents or parental figures.
Gen Z’s who identified as gay were also more likely to be out to their parents than their bisexual peers.
Religion also seems to play a part in determining whether a Gen Zer is out to their parents or not. Those who identified as non-religious were more likely to be out to their parents than those with religious leanings.
Finally, teens who were fully accepting of the sexual identity were more likely to be out to parental figures compared to those who had not fully embraced their identity.
“This gives us an understanding of the factors that move teenagers to share this type of information with the people closest to them,” said Moskowitz. “We can now compare these practices with how other generations deal with these issues and think about what it all means for future generations.”
To come out or not
Coming out is a bold time in any LGBTQ person’s life. A weight is finally lifted, and it’s pretty freeing. You no longer have to hide, pretend or live a lie.
However, it’s a terrifying time. A lot could go wrong, including falling out with parents and loved ones, discrimination and even physical violence.
As we’ve written before, weigh your decision properly before stepping out of the closet. Ask yourself some of these ten questions before coming out.
- Is it the right time?
- Are you emotionally ready?
- Can you support yourself if your announcement doesn’t go down well?
- Do you have a strong support network
- Who are you going to come out to and why?
- Are you truly proud of who you are?
Take your time and consider these things you must know before coming out to family and friends.
The better prepared you are before kicking the closet door, the smoother your transition to an out and proud life.
Coming out to family
While the Gen Z coming out trend remains encouraging, we have a long way to go before coming out becomes more acceptable.
If anything, coming out to parents and loved ones seems to be the most daunting problem for most queers.
A majority of LGBTQ people can easily come out to close friends. However, they stumble coming out to parents because they fear rejection from the people they love most.
You can make coming out to parents a little easier by following some of these tips:
- Do it at your own time and pace
- Practice what you’re going to say. You can even write a little speech down
- Speak your truth without fear
- Carefully weigh your options before coming out.
Finally, please don’t say any of these things if someone ever comes out to you.