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For Most Bullied Gay Kids, Things Do 'Get Better,' Study Finds
Date:2/4/2013

By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Feb. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Many gay and bisexual teenagers are bullied in school, but the problem does ease substantially as they get older, a new study out of England suggests.

Researchers found that of more than 4,100 teens aged 13 and 14 who they surveyed, gay and bisexual teens were more likely to say they'd been bullied -- anything from name-calling to being physically hurt.

Fifty-seven percent of girls and 52 percent of boys said they'd been victims, versus about 40 percent of their heterosexual peers.

The good news was that things got better with time, the researchers report online Feb. 4 and in the March print issue of Pediatrics. At ages 19 and 20, 6 percent of lesbian and bisexual women and 9 percent of gay and bisexual men said they'd been victimized in the past year.

The bad news was that men were still four times more likely to report bullying than heterosexual young men were.

"Basically this is saying that it does get better, but it's not good enough," said Brian Mustanski, an associate professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University, in Chicago.

Mustanski, who was not involved in the study, has done research on the impact of bullying on gay and bisexual kids. "The work we've done shows that there is an association between bullying and suicide attempts and self-harming behavior in [gay and bisexual] youth," he said.

But it's not only researchers paying attention now, Mustanski added.

The media have put a spotlight on recent cases in which gay teens have taken their own lives after being taunted by their peers. And in 2010, syndicated columnist Dan Savage, who is gay, launched the "It Gets Better" project to get a message to gay and bisexual kids who are being bullied.

"The message was, it will get better with time," Mustanski said. "And that's an important message. But we really hadn't had any resea
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