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Do Say Gay: Understanding the Significance of Inclusive Sexuality Discussions Between Parent and Son

Data show that Generation Z youth are coming out at earlier ages than previous generations of sexual- and gender-diverse individuals. However, little is known about LGBTQ youth’s perspectives on how or if parent-child discussions at home about health and sexuality sufficiently meet their sexual education needs.

A new study – published today – led by an investigator from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) has explored the perspectives of gay, bisexual, and queer (GBQ) cisgender males about inclusive parent-child sex communication. It underscores the importance of inclusive sexuality conversations between parent and child for closeted, questioning, or even heterosexual youth.

The article detailing the study, “Do Say Gay: Inclusive Sexuality Discussions for Out, Closeted, Questioning, and Straight Youth,” has been published online first in the Journal of Pediatric Healthcare. It shares study participants’ insight about how inclusive conversations about sex and sexuality can reduce internalized GBQ stigma and promote a sense of support among adolescents, as their parents are often a trusted resource for information and guidance.

“Additionally, findings from this study underscore the significance of inclusive sex communication between parents and their children, and that the benefits of these conversations can reach beyond GBQ youth such that even heterosexual children who receive inclusive information from parents can be understanding and potential allies of their GBQ peers,” says Penn Nursing’s Dalmacio Flores, PhD, ACRN, Assistant Professor of Nursing in the Department of Family and Community Health and lead investigator of the study.

The study further describes the importance of such parent-child discussions, including influencing sexual behavior and sexual health to help delay adolescent sexual debut and reduce early HIV/STI infections. Co-authors of the article include Lloyd Allen, PhD, of Wayne State University and Jacqueline A. Bannon, PhD, RN, of Northwestern University.