Further, the meanings of LGBT and the experiences of LGBT people must be understood as intersecting with other salient personal, ethnic, cultural, and social identities Consolacion et al. First, we provide context for understanding the lives of contemporary LGBT youth. The pink shaded area in Figure 1 along the x-axis illustrates this change in the increasing social acceptance of LGBT people across historical time. LGBT is an acronym used to refer to people who select those sexual or gender identity labels as personally meaningful for them, and sexual and gender identities are complex and historically situated Diamond , Rosario et al.
During the past two decades there have been not only dramatic shifts in public attitudes toward LGBT people and issues Gallup , but also an emergence of research from multiple and diverse fields that has created what is now a solid foundation of knowledge regarding mental health in LGBT youth. Further, the meanings of LGBT and the experiences of LGBT people must be understood as intersecting with other salient personal, ethnic, cultural, and social identities Consolacion et al. The conclusion considers legal, policy, and clinical implications of the current state of research. First, we provide context for understanding the lives of contemporary LGBT youth. We consider the state of knowledge of risk and protective factors, focusing on those factors that are specific to LGBT youth and their experiences as well as on those that are amenable to change through prevention or intervention. Implications for clinical care are discussed, and important areas for new research and practice are identified. An important caveat at the outset of this article is that much of the current knowledge base will be extended in coming decades to illuminate how general patterns of LGBT youth mental health identified to date are intersectionally situated, that is, how patterns of mental health may vary across not only sexual and gender identities, but also across racial and ethnic, cultural, and social class identities as well. The first country to recognize marriage between same-sex couples was the Netherlands in ; as of this writing, 22 countries recognize marriage for same-sex couples. The pace of change in the United States and around the world has been dramatic: In this article, we review mental health in LGBT youth, focusing on both theoretical and empirical foundations of this body of research. Yet the first public and research attention to young LGBTs focused explicitly on mental health: Throughout this article, we use the acronym LGBT unless in reference to studies of subpopulations. Most of the knowledge base has focused on sexual identities and historically mostly on gay and lesbian identities , with much less empirical study of mental health among transgender or gender-nonconforming youth. Although they appear orthogonal, the trends are complementary: LGBT is an acronym used to refer to people who select those sexual or gender identity labels as personally meaningful for them, and sexual and gender identities are complex and historically situated Diamond , Rosario et al. The pink shaded area in Figure 1 along the x-axis illustrates this change in the increasing social acceptance of LGBT people across historical time. Societal acceptance has provided the opportunity for youth to understand themselves in relation to the growing public visibility of LGBT people. On the one hand there have been dramatic social changes regarding societal acceptance of LGBT people and issues, and yet on the other hand there has been unprecedented concern regarding LGBT youth mental health. Research in the past decade has identified risk and protective factors for mental health, which point to promising directions for prevention, intervention, and treatment. Legal and policy successes have set the stage for advances in programs and practices that may foster LGBT youth mental health. This is illustrated with data on the average ages of first disclosure or coming out the y-axis in Figure 1 taken from empirical studies of samples of LGB persons.
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