Teen boys coming out to mom or dad at record numbers according to new study

Researchers say it is encouraging that so many teens are comfortable with their sexuality

Gay and bi teen boys are coming out to their parents in record numbers.

According to a study published by the American Psychological Association, a majority of gay and bisexual Generation Z teenage boys report being out to their parents. This continues an uptick in coming out among young people over the past decade. Researchers found that 66 per cent of those surveyed were out to their mothers and 49 per cent were out to their fathers. By contrast, ten years ago an estimated 40 per cent of adolescent boys were out to their moms and less than 30 per cent to their dads.

While kids are coming out in record numbers, study authors say there are still hurdles. “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, PhD, assistant professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University’s Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing. “At the same time, 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.”

Researchers examined survey data gathered from 13 to 18-year-old boys, all of whom identified as gay, bisexual, or are attracted to people regardless of gender. Data was collected as part of an HIV prevention study running from January 2018 to January 2020. Participants were asked demographic questions like their race, age and social questions like their religion. The study found that White participants were more likely than Black teens to be out to their parents, while those who identified as gay were also more likely to be out compared to their bisexual friends. Participants who said they were not religious were more likely to say they were out to a parent than teens who identified as religious. “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.”

Moskowitz says more study is needed to fully understand how this generation views sexuality, and an important next step would be to determine the coming out practices of females in the same age group.