Metro Weekly

Study shows “It Gets Better” not as effective for bisexual teens

Savage.png“Those who identify as mostly gay may be expressing an ambivalence about identifying as gay or lesbian due to living in unsupportive environements or getting messages that it’s not okay to be gay or lesbian. It may take them more time to work through this ambivalence, particularly since early adulthood continues to be a time of great transition.

-Dr. Sharon Horne, psychologist and director of training of counseling psychology at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, referring to a new study in The Journal of Adolescent Health that found that initiatives like Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” Project may be helpful in reducing depression and suicidal thoughts among gay or lesbian teens, but may not be as effective for teens identifying as “mostly gay or lesbian” or bisexual. 

Horne was quoted in an article by the Center for Advancing Health’s Health Behavior News Service that also quoted the study’s head researcher Will Cardom, of the department of educational, school and counseling psychology at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. According to Cardom, therapists working with bisexuals may have to take into account that the experiences of bisexuals may differ from their gay or lesbian peers and may require additional counseling. The study’s researchers also noted that, unlike bisexuals, gay and lesbian teens may find more acceptance or support from the LGBT community after coming out and transitioning into adulthood, which may contribute to decreased symptoms of depression or suicidal thoughts.

[Photo: Dan Savage, founder of the “It Gets Better” Project (Photo by LaRae Lobdell).] 

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at