Do teenage attitudes toward homosexual men cause violence and hatred?

4 Mar

It may be better to say that immature attitudes cause violence and hatred towards gay men as not all teenagers have such negative attitudes towards gay men. In actuality teenagers are perhaps one of the most open minded segments of society at this time in regards to their view of gays. To be truly accurate you have to look at the different types of teens out there and assess each independently to create a truer picture of the prevailing teen attitude towards gay men, and then draw a conclusion.

For starters gay men still wind up on the wrong side of the tracks due to negative stereotyping. While it is not at all uncommon to find teens that will view lesbians or bisexuals as being okay, they will judge a gay man in a harsh fashion. This however isn’t a universal attitude, but it is prevalent enough to be noted. There are also six segments of teen society that have to be examined which break down almost in accordance to the same ways school breaks down (junior high school, high school and college) and by sex, male and female.

Teens in the range of junior high school age, typically 13-15, generally are fall into an area of confusion regarding gay men and what their feelings are regarding them. At this stage of life puberty is still in the mix and they are only beginning to have an actual true grasp of sexuality and all that encompasses. They begin forming their opinions based on environmental factors, particularly what they hear and see from friends and family as well as the media. Actual violence against gay men in a physical sense from this age range is a rarity as they aren’t usually physically developed enough to physically engage an adult. Hatred is an emotion however and that can begin manifesting at this time.

Exploring this group further, it is more common that boys will tend toward the negative point of view regarding gay men. Girls tend to mature a bit quicker and be more open minded. The outside pressure and prevailing attitude towards gay men seems to be less of a factor in the way they form their opinions. This is a trend that remains fairly constant as numerous studies have postulated and upheld over the years.

Moving into the age range of the high school teen, girls again seem to take a less critical view of gay men and actually tend to form a more positive view of them, On the other hand this is the age range when boys that already had a negative attitude towards gay men tend to deepen that feeling and are more likely to violently act out against a gay man for a number of reasons. Part of it has to do with the physical ability to do so, as well as being in the age range in which they are generally given more freedoms from their parents and have the ability to take actions outside of their direct supervision. It is generally noted that at this age teen boys that do carry out acts of violence against gay men rarely do so on their own, it is usually as a group with pack mentality being cited as a possible factor.

Finally examining the college age teen, more women tend to actually take on a positive, or at least non-hostile attitude toward gay men and are rarely going to act violently towards one. The teen male of this age however splits two ways. Those who attend college and have had an attitude which was “on the fence” so to speak tend to form a less critical opinion of gay men in part due to the more open and accepting setting of a university. Those who do not attend college and had a borderline view almost tend to split 50/50 depending on what they do with their life regarding career choices and where they live. Those who enter careers which tend to embrace diversity seem to have better odds of forming a positive attitude towards gay men. Those who do not are more prone to maintain a negative or undecided attitude.

With all of that said and done, neither is an absolute. There are plenty of documented cases in which the young adult teen has had something happen, sometimes as trivial as not getting a promotion on the job or losing a scholarship to a gay man, that sets them off and creates a hostility which they link to their rivals homosexuality. In some cases the court transcripts have shown jealousy was a factor violence against a gay man as they often tend to have female friends which is a dynamic not all male teens understand clearly. Then again there are those among the population that just have an irrational need to pin the blame for any and all hardships on someone, and a gay man to them is as good a lightning rod for this as anyone.

While the teen years are a vital period in life in which many long lasting attitudes are formed, it can be postulated that in some cases those attitudes are formed immaturely. Immature thoughts can lead to misconceptions and ill conceived actions for any number of reasons. Therefore it can be said that in some, but by no stretch of the imagination all cases, teenage attitudes do lead to violence and hatred towards gay men. It must also be said in fairness that as each generation passes, teenage attitudes are becoming far more progressive and open to embracing the fact that people are different and that the sentiment of hatred towards gay men and correspondingly violence against them perpetrated by teens is less of a factor than it had been in previous generations. It really all comes back to maturity.

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