Gay and lesbian youth are adolescents who, in many ways, are no different from their peers. What distinguishes homosexual youth from other adolescent populations is the emotional, psychological and physical trauma resulting from the homophobia they experience in their daily lives. Although suicide, HIV infection, substance use, and violence appear to disproportionately affect this population, most homosexual youth grow up healthy and happy. Frequently lost in discussions of risk and risk behaviors is an appreciation of the strengths very much present in these young people. Health care providers must remain aware of the unique issues and health risks of homosexual youth but must also remember to address each patient as an individual within the context of general adolescent development. By doing so, pediatricians can play a vital role in preserving and enhancing the health of this "at-risk" population.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health