In keeping with the theme of gay teens, a story in USA Today on 2/8/07 by Marilyn Elias talked about teens "coming out" earlier, feeling better about themselves, and feeling like there is more acceptance for homosexuality than in any other point in history. There are more than 3,200 gay/straight alliances in schools across the country, and many school counselors report working with students or parents around sexual orientation. Stories in the popular media about VP Cheney's daughter expecting a baby with her female partner, Ellen DeGeneres hosting the Oscars, Internet access, and frequent TV shows with gay or lesbian characters has helped to "normalize" the experience of youth coming to terms with their sexual orientation, but I fear "coming out" is far from a positive experience for many teens.
Teens coming out are still at risk. There are still hate crimes, very conservative regions, and people with families or religious values that cannot accept gay children. Some young gay teens leave home and most head for large cities, where they are likely to find support services and a sense of community. The more positive role models these kids have, the better chances they have of coming to terms with their sexual orientation as part of a fulfilling life path, not an obstacle.