Happy pride month to those who are out and those who are not. Either way, it’s okay. Coming out is different for everyone, especially since there are always different reactions. When telling people that are close to you (like parents) it can be difficult, and the anticipation, worse. Savin-Williams understands the challenges queer people face and has written books on such topics. “Mom, Dad, I’m gay”, “Becoming who I am” and “The New Gay Teen” show different difficulties that LGBT+youth face, from coming out to beating stereotypes. This week, I interviewed him about his work.
What’s it’s like studying LGBT+ issues?
It is my passion, in part it is personal and it part it is scientific as we know so little about the developmental milestones of sexual-minority youth.
What inspires you to write about such topics?
We need knowledge, not stereotypes and there are many of the latter when it comes to sexual-minority youth. I am a developmental psychologist and there are few of us investigating the lives of sexual-minority youth.
What were and are the biggest barriers that you’ve faced in your career?
Regarding sexual-minority youth, it is trying not only to counter stereotypes (e.g., suicidal, depressed, anxious, substance abuse, etc.) but, more importantly, to describe their lives.
Have you noticed a change in how the public has reacted to your works?
I believe there is a new openness to considering the “ordinariness” of sexual-minority youth—some are troubled, some are awesome, and most are typical adolescents.
What do you hope to accomplish or change with your works?
To insert knowledge into our views of sexual-minority youth and to rid our culture of the need to know the sexuality of youth before we accept them.
As America’s government becomes more conservative, what effect do you think it will have on the LGBT+ youth?
I am hopeful that acceptance of sexual and gender diversity is so entrenched in our culture that it will withstand politics.