• An adolescent comes out as gay to his parents. At first, they are saddened knowing that this puts their son in a marginalized group. But their reaction is one of warmth and acceptance.
  • Another adolescent comes out as gay to his parents. They react with disbelief and disdain and kick him out of their house. He then lives in a homeless shelter for LGBTQ youth.

As depicted in these examples, an adolescent coming out to family, friends, school, and community can receive varied reactions that are both influenced by and influence the social environment. An adolescents life circumstances may dramatically change, positively or negativelytheir internal thoughts and feelings and external behavior may also be affected. For this Discussion, you consider these and other potential impacts and how a social worker can help adolescents questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity.

  • Review the Learning Resources on sexual orientation and gender identity. 
  • Explore Ellas case in the Social Work Case Studies media in the Learning Resources. Reflect on potential responses to their disclosure of gender identity. Consider other reactions to an adolescent questioning their sexual or gender identity and how those reactions might affect the adolescent.
  • Reflect on how you as a social worker could help adolescents who are questioning.
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