While it's never a good idea for teen girls to be careless about birth control, it's a little less hazardous for lesbians -- right? Not according to a new study from the University of British Columbia, which found that bisexual teen girls are about 10 times more likely to get pregnant than their heterosexual peers, and lesbians are about six and a half times as likely.
Why are so many young gay girls getting pregnant? Turns out, it's often not an accident. "Even though teen parenthood isn't very valued and it's not all that respected, per se, it is a more positive identity in some places than being gay, lesbian or bisexual," says study author Elizabeth Saewyc. "For some, it may be that they've been told that this is abnormal and wrong, and they may think: 'Well, if I just have sex with enough opposite-gender people, that will cure me.'"
Click here to read about one lesbian blogger's personal experience.
The study and analysis may seem a little extreme -- young girls are getting pregnant
to avoid facing the shame of their sexuality? -- but other research reinforces the findings. A study from the University of Minnesota
found that lesbian, bisexual and questioning adolescent females were as likely as heterosexuals to engage in male/female intercourse, but had a pregnancy rate (12.3 percent) almost seven percent higher
than straight girls.
Personal experience tells the same tale. Take lesbian blogger Cecelia Brown, who got pregnant in the early '80s while pretending to be straight. "When I was young, I knew I was different than everyone else. The only thing I ever heard when I was growing up was how 'queers were *&%#*& perverts,'" she says. "I spent my time trying to pretend I was someone else, straight. As a result I ended up not with just one unintended pregnancy but two." Read her take on the Canadian study here.
Tell us: What do you think about the study results? Have you seen or experienced the social pressure and shame it talks about?