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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Identity » UBC study: lesbian / bisexual youth at high risk for pregnancy?

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Author Topic: UBC study: lesbian / bisexual youth at high risk for pregnancy?
pcwhite
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Member # 41633

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hi everyone. i read of a study in the newspaper last week about how lesbian / bisexual teen girls are 2 to 7 times more likely to get pregnant than their heterosexual peers. the most complete rundown of the study i found is here: http://www.publicaffairs.ubc.ca/media/releases/2008/mr-08-165.html

i'm posting this here because i'm wondering if these findings jive with any of your experiences of working with LGB youth. as a queer person myself, i personally find it so counter-intuitive that it's hard for me to even process some of the researcher's speculations per the results.

e.g. (this is from another article on the same subject at http://www.vancouversun.com/teens+higher+risk+pregnancy+study/1082366/story.html ):

quote:
Teenagers who are unsure about their sexual orientation will often experiment with heterosexual sex, Saewyc said.

In some cases, girls will deliberately attempt to get pregnant in an effort to create a new family or identity for themselves.

“Some people will reach for an identity that has more respect, more positive value. And in our society, what’s more valued than fatherhood or motherhood? We have holidays for them,” Saewyc said.

i'm also casting a suspicious eye on this because, additionally, they seem to be suggesting that lesbians, gays, and esp. bisexuals are more often promiscuous or sexually irresponsible. i mean...i don't like to dismiss empirical data, but it just makes no sense to me that we are at a higher risk of pregnancy, even if some LGB teens *are* having sex in heterosexual couplings.

does anyone have any thoughts?

Posts: 21 | From: guelph, ON | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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This actually doesn't surprise me very much (and this has been noted in other studies of teen GLBT populations before), though I'd also suggest that we bear in mind that the study was relatively local, and when it comes to teen pregnancy, location does tend to be a big factor. So, I'd not presume the results of this study to be completely universal.

Interestingly, the first publisher I had for my book -- a contract we dissolved due to some pretty big differences of thought in some areas, including this one -- and I had some conflict come up about this. because it was an inclusive book, their idea was that the birth control information could be truncated, since that struck them as really being about hetero teens.

What this study is showing is one of the reasons why I insisted that wasn't sound thinking.

One thing the study didn't mention, that I do think is a big factor, is that often gay or bisexual teens aren't as prepared FOR opposite-sex sex as some hetero youth are. In other words, they don't have the same levels of preparedness, simply because it doesn't strike them as as likely they will need to be. As well, the fact that GLBT youth also tend to have more troubles at home due to homophobia or transphobia, be more socially isolated: those are issues which for anyone of any orientation do tend to create greater levels of risk for unprepared sex, or lack of birth control or safer sex practices.

So, I don't think it's as simple as more sex, or just about -- and this historically is common -- engaging in things to try and "disprove" homosexuality or bisexuality, or get as far from it as possible due to shame and fear. I think those are factors, but it strikes me that the whole picture here has just been presented somewhat simplistically (though possibly just because that's the way they limited the study).

[ 12-23-2008, 04:32 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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pcwhite
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Member # 41633

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thanks very much for your thoughtful response, Heather. [Smile] it looks like i have some research of my own to do.
Posts: 21 | From: guelph, ON | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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