Female peers because they will regard his behavior as

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female peers, because they will regard his behavior as “queer” and stigmatize him (Gagnon, 2004). Here questioning suggests that someone wants to explore his or her sexual attractions and feelings for the same gender, without abandoning the social identity as being heterosexual or bisexual. It is important to understand how sexual orientation, sexual attractions, and gender conformity intersect in such a person's experience. Page 342 Early research stated that youths who engaged in homosexuality were simply confused and in transition to heterosexuality. Subsequent research concluded something very differently: The youths were not confused about their LGBTQ orientation. Rather, they were confused about how to express their same- sex attractions in a society defined by compulsory heterosexuality (Herdt & Boxer, 1993). People who are queer or questioning are also challenging how sexual attraction, sexual orientation, and gender go together. For example, more than half of all youth occasionally engage in sexual behaviors with the same sex, such as kissing or sexual intercourse, as found in a sample of about 20,000 youths from the public schools in Massachusetts and Minnesota. Yet, these individuals still identified themselves as heterosexual (Garofalo et al., 1999; Remafedi et al., 1992). “We don't like putting ourselves in boxes,” some young people say. HOMOSEXUALITY, DISCRIMINATION, AND STIGMA Discrimination against LGBTQ people may profoundly shape the development and expression of their orientation in much the same way that racism affects how people of color grow up, develop self- awareness, and behave in their lives (Herek, 2004; Meyer, 1997). Many in society have an irrational fear and hatred of homosexuality and homosexuals; this attitude can have a negative impact on the real-world experiences of LGBTQ individuals. The majority of LGBTQ people grow up having experienced harassment and discrimination in one form or another (Cianciotto & Cahill, 2010). Accumulating research evidence, however, supports the idea that positive acceptance of sexual diversity makes a difference in how people feel about their lives and opportunities to develop sexual well-being (Diamond, 2008; Vrangalova & Savin-Williams, 2012). Until the U.S. Supreme Court struck down
“sodomy” laws prohibiting sexual acts between individuals of the same gender in the landmark case of Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, homosexuality was illegal in 23 states. The negative effects of these old laws on the lives of LGBTQ people is hard to calculate, but some believe that they have left a lifelong sense of silence, shame, fear, and stress (Mayer et al., 1996). Stigma , which is a sign of all this social unacceptability, is a huge effect of this process for LGBTQ people. Stigma spoils a person's identity and turns him or her into a social outcast. Stigma definitely influences people's health and sexual well-being because their family and friends may avoid them, and they may be deprived of basic services such as health care as a result (Epstein, 1999; Meyer et al., 2008). In fact, stigma is such a huge thing in some cultures that people will go to extreme lengths to avoid having their

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