Gay Teen vs. Traditional Family

December 6, 2010 at 5:33 pm , by

Ed Plata was a tough, traditional Marine. His son EJ was effeminate and gay. His wife Elizabeth was caught in the middle. Yikes! It’s the sort of thing that can tear a family apart, but the Platas (at right) emerged stronger for it in the end.

In our article this month on gay teens and bullying, which features the Platas and their story, Caitlin Ryan, Ph.D., of the Family Acceptance Project in San Francisco explains what Ed and Elizabeth did right, and what parents can do to keep gay kids from becoming suicide, HIV, depression and drug-abuse statistics. The research findings she shared with us for the article were officially published today in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing. At the same time, her organization released an amazing documentary video about the Platas. Click here to watch—and get out your tissues!

9 Responses to “Gay Teen vs. Traditional Family”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ladies' Home Journal, Ron Kelly. Ron Kelly said: RT @LHJmagazine: Documentary featuring one of the families from our gay teens & bullying story. Break out the tissues! http://bit.ly/fGQbEz [...]


  2. I love LHJ, and there is no doubt that teen bullying is out of hand. However, I’m disappointed that this story centered on only gay suicide caused by bullying.

    Teen suicide due to bullying AND other reasons is increasing across all walks of life. There was the prominent case of Phoebe Prince, the Irish girl who committed suicide after being bullied by at least 9 students. She was not gay. This was a case of jealousy. A friend of mine had a son commit suicide due to a breakup from a girlfriend.

    Furthermore, someone would have to prove to me that it is usually “Christian” kids who bully gays. Anyone can say they’re Christian because they were raised in a Christian home, but a true Christian is someone who actively accepts Jesus as Lord into their heart; and they would never do such a thing as bullying. In fact, I know two neighbor children who are being bullied at school BECAUSE they are Christian and they are so meek and mild-mannered. They’ve never said a word about gay kids because they’ve been brought up to love everyone.

    Ironically, I myself was bullied by a gay woman in college because I kept refusing her advances. I had to drop my favorite class to get away from her.

    Maybe the problems for both the kids committing suicide and the kids doing the bullying are some of these things:
    -The National Education Association has had an agenda for years now of training teachers to tell kids they DON’T need to listen to their parents because their parents are old-fashioned (there are documents to prove this), thus causing more of a rift where kids don’t think their parents can help them solve problems and that their peers are the end-all and be-all of relevant opinion; -That there is “no absolute truth;” and that you can do whatever feels good, and that God is a myth. After all, if God is a myth, then these kids aren’t being shown any borders or any hope that life can get better.

    -Moreover, parents are afraid to discipline or even look sideways at their kids for doing anything wrong, for fear of having the kids taken away by the authorities.

    Since we took discipline away, kids are getting more violent and rebellious, not less.

    And, if kids are spending 6-8 hours a day in school being trained to be tolerant and diverse – why are there no successful results? The rate of suicide should be going down, not up. It’s because this is a matter of the heart, and without God the heart cannot change.

    For all our talk of tolerance and diversity, it’s making the differences between us MORE visible, not less.


  3. (Sorry, P.S. – my comment refers to the entire article in the print version of LHJ, not just this little portion printed here).


  4. Thanks so much for your comments, Sandi. You are absolutely right that it is not only gay kids who get bullied. Our article talks about how anti-gay bullying affects ALL kids, gay and straight. We also covered bullying in general in an article last summer,”The Bully-Proof Kid” (June 2010). Kids get bullied for many reasons, as this month’s article points out, but in this particular article we decided to focus on one major type of bullying. We do quote a Catholic priest and a conservative evangelical Christian professor, who suggest ways that people who may have religious objections to homosexuality can nevertheless combat anti-gay bullying and help create a safe environment for all kids, including gay teens. However, nowhere in the article does it say that Christian kids are more likely to bully gays. That is certainly not the case. Thanks again for expressing your thoughts and concerns on this issue. Together, we can make a difference!


  5. Thanks Louise, for your attention to my comment. Wow, I’m surprised to get a reply!

    Re: The part of your article that shows religious groups becoming more tolerant…how are religious teens or organizations supposed to show this growth of tolerance when they aren’t allowed to express God’s love in public schools?

    Many school administrators are violating First Amendment rights by not allowing freedom of (peaceful) religious expression outside of actual class learning time. Kids should be able to pray, share views, and read Bibles in lunchrooms, between classes and after school on school grounds. And when students are told to write or talk about whatever they want as class assignments, schools are not supposed to forbid the topic of God or give kids bad grades for using it in written subject matter or in student speeches. This is per the Dept of Ed document, “Religious Expression in Public Schools,” released during the Clinton admin.

    With love to all people equally, Sandi.


  6. Why can’t they express God’s love without bible study’s,prayer time and such. If your religion is just for “show” then just how real is your Jesuseousness? Maybe the Jewish kids would be offended,Maybe the Muslim kids would be too.You Jesus freaks are all about recruiting and showing the rest of us the error of our ways. NO thanks!

    Pray at home.

    With love to all the gay folks equally, Me


  7. Just a reminder to keep it civil, guys! We want this to be a space where we can have an honest and open discussion about sometimes-tough issues, but we also want to be respectful of different viewpoints!


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