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“IT IS WHO I AM”: EXPERIENCES OF SAME SEX ATTRACTED YOUTH WITHIN AUSTRALIAN SECONDARY SCHOOLS

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Author(s): RUSSELL PRATT | SIMONE BUZWELL

Journal: Gay and Lesbian Issues and Psychology Review
ISSN 1833-4512

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 12;
Date: 2006;
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Keywords: same-sex attracted youth | resilience | homophobia

ABSTRACT
In the present research same-sex attracted youths’ (SSAYs) connectedness to schools, families and peers was investigated. One hundred and fifty nine SSAY aged between 13 and 19 years of age responded to a questionnaire of both open-ended and closed-ended questions, providing qualitative and quantitative material. The results presented here suggest that SSAY often develop a number of strategies to negotiate difficult situations in their school environments. Also, responses suggested strong levels of resilience and coping. Unfortunately, SSAY live in a world where they have to utilise these coping and resilience strategies to combat discrimination that should not be occurring. The results of the current study indicate that a homophobic environment results in a negative school experience, regardless of whether a young person is out or not. Positive experiences were mediated by supportive fellow students and teaching staff. It is suggested that schools take a more systemic response to deal with homophobic attitudes and behaviours.
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