Researcher Reports It Gets Better For Gay Teens

A new study reports that gay teens face less bullying after they leave high school, proving that the sentiment behind the It Gets Better campaign is more than just a slogan.

BY ON TOP MAGAZINE STAFF-ontopmag.com

Columnist and gay rights activist Dan Savage co-founded the It Gets Better project. Through videos posted online, adults promise bullied gay teens that life eventually gets better.

“The sentiment of the It Gets Better campaign is that things will get better because chances are you are not going to be bullied later in life,” Joseph Robinson, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, told Time. “This is the first time we have strong empirical evidence to suggest it does get better.”

According to Robinson’s research, all students reported a decline in bullying over time, regardless of sexual orientation. More than 50 percent of gay teens reported being bullied at ages 13 or 14. That figure drops to less than 10 percent at ages 19 or 20.

Gay and bisexual men, however, continue to be bullied four times as often as heterosexual males following high school.

“It definitely gets better on average for all gay kids,” Robinson said. “Rates for gay men are getting better but when compared to straight boys, it’s still much higher. We would be remiss to ignore that in relative terms, it gets worse for gay men.”

Robinson’s research appears in the journal Pediatrics.