They are negatively distinguished from heterosexual homeless youth (Cochran, Stewart, Ginzler, & Cauce, 2002).
The authors of the two research studies I chose, for this summary, have pointed out reasons why the topic of lesbian and gay youth’s reflection and challenges are areas of great importance. The author of the study on television programming says that there are very few lesbian and gay characters, especially positive role models, in television programming. Yet television is an important resource for lesbian and gay people to have vicarious experience and shape identity, beliefs and values, especially in the case where their own literal experience is limited. (Fisher, Hill, Grube, & Gruber, 2007) A consequence is that the lesbian/gay community is kept invisible, when there are insufficient models, and is undeservedly portrayed in stereotypically negative ways when the models are negative, reinforcing judgmental heterosexual stereotypes (Fisher, Hill, Grube, & Gruber, 2007). Another reason why the study is important is that there is very little research done on this specific topic (Fisher, Hill, Grube, & Gruber, 2007), and so this study will be able to contribute to the field.
The author of the other study, on homeless lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgendered youth, feels the topic is important because gay and lesbian adolescents, in general, are at increased risk for physical and mental problems (Cochran, Stewart, Ginzler, & Cauce, 2002). Studies indicate that between 11% and 35% of homeless youth are lesbian or gay. This led the authors of this study to suspect that being homeless and a member of a sexual minority would likely increase their risk (Cochran, Stewart, Ginzler, & Cauce, 2002). The challenges of surviving on the streets, on top of the challenging histories that lesbian and gay youth may already have, are enormous. This makes it a critical study.