Bullied gay teens must deal with psychological scars in their adult years.
Researchers have claimed there might be a ‘buffer’ to protect teens from the negative effects of bullying and victimization.
And that answer is romance.
So instead of ‘it gets better’, should we be telling kids ‘go get a partner’?
Romantic relationships give bullied gay teens a ‘buffer’
‘Romantic relationships add luster to life,’ Brian Mustanski, a co-author said. He is the director of the Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing.
‘Your romantic partner can be the first person you reach out to when you have good news to celebrate or for a shoulder to cry on when you have bad news.
‘Having a partner then can amplify the good things in life and provide critical support during tough times.’
The researchers stated limited research has looked into the association between dating relationships and mental health in young people.
But this finding could be important as prior research has never found a ‘buffer’ like this for LGBTI teens before.
Should adults help queer kids date?
‘There are lot of questions about if and how we should help LGBT teens form romantic relationships,’ first author Sarah Whitton said.
‘This is so they can have the same experiences of dating and learning about relationships as their heterosexual peers.’
She is the associate professor of psychology at the University of Cincinnati. Whitton is also a long-time collaborator with Mustanski on relationship research in the LGBTI community.
Whitton said there could be great value in city-wide queer proms.
‘[There is] great value in initiatives that could help LGBT youth… engage in healthy learning about dating.’
Bisexual teens facing biphobia in relationships
However, bisexual young people may face a harder time dating.
While gay and lesbian teens said they were 17% less distressed than when they were not in relationships, bisexuals said they were 19% more distressed if they had a boyfriend or girlfriend.
In previous research, bisexual women reported their romantic male partners expected threesomes with another female and perceived of the woman’s bisexuality as a threat to their own masculinity.
Bisexual men in relationships with women described difficulties discussing their bisexuality and experiencing stereotypes that they are really gay and not bisexual.