Homosexuals more likely to be punished

Monday, December 6, 2010

WASHINGTON - Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) adolescents are about 40 percent more likely than other teens to be punished by school authorities, police and the courts.

The study by Yale University researchers is the first to document excessive punishment of LGB youth nationwide.

“We found that virtually all types of punishment - school expulsions, arrests, juvenile convictions, adult convictions and especially police stops - were more frequently meted out to LGB youth,” said Kathryn Himmelstein.

Himmelstein initiated the study while she was a Yale undergraduate, reports the journal Paediatrics. She now teaches mathematics at a public high school in New York City.

The study was based on the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) and included about 15,000 middle and high school students who were followed for seven years into early adulthood, according to a Yale statement.

The study collected details on participants’ sexuality, including feelings of sexual attraction, sexual relationships and self-labelling as LGB.

Add Health also surveyed participants about how frequently they engaged in a variety of misbehaviours, ranging in severity from lying to parents, to using a weapon.

Teens who reported feelings of attraction to members of the same sex, regardless of their self-identification, were more likely than other teens to be expelled from schools or convicted of crimes as adults.

“Girls who labelled themselves as lesbians or bisexuals were especially at risk for unequal treatment,” Himmelstein said.

“They reported experiencing twice as many police stops, arrests and convictions as other girls who had engaged in heterosexual behaviour.

“Although we did not explore the experiences of transgender youth, anecdotal reports suggest that they are similarly at risk for excessive punishment,” Himmelstein added.

Filed under: Immigration, World

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