I dated a girl for the first time in Middle School. At the time, I lived in a highly homophobic area. My girlfriend’s mom was very supportive. So, when I went over to my girlfriend’s house, everything between us seemed normal and fine. This helped me deal with the homophobia around me.
So, from my earliest dating years, I have never been closeted. Being bisexual has never been a big deal to me. Ever since I was little, I just didn’t care about the sex or gender of a person. I can find people sexed or gendered in different ways to be attractive and I have dated androgenous people, butches, soft studs, femmes, manly men, meterosexual men. I find not being tied down to a single sex or gender has been liberating and enriching. I have been able to meet and closely experience many kinds of people.
But for many people, living in the closet is real and oftentimes they don’t have the support they need. This study in the Advocate suggests that non-supportive parents can affect women more than men, but the reasons are not clear as to why.
A study of lesbian, gay and bisexual people up to age 64 found that if parents were supportive of their children when coming out, usually in their twenties, they went on to live healthier lives.
Two-thirds of out participants had supportive parents, found researchers at the Boston University School of Public Health. And they experienced much lower rates of mental health and substance abuse problems compared to those whose parents wouldn’t accept them.
Gay men without supportive parents went on to face six to seven times the odds of serious depression and binge drinking. Women experienced five times the odds of serious depression, and 11 times the odds of drug use.
The study, published in the Journal of Homosexuality, also found that women are much more affected by living closeted lives than men.
“It’s possible that the stress of not disclosing your sexuality to your parents affects men and women differently,” said lead researcher Emily Rothman in an announcement of the findings. “In general, gay and bisexual men may be able to conduct their sexual lives apart from their parents with less stress.”