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Sexual health Growing up gay

Patrick was only 11 when he started to feel that he was different. Many gay adults say they had that experience as adolescents, but didn’t understand why they felt as they did.

Parents can’t predict whether a child will be gay, but they can communicate unconditional love.

Love and acceptance reduce gay children’s vulnerability to drug use and suicide. That’s why it’s so important that gay kids can talk with their parents about their sexuality.

“The primary message to a child who is gay needs to include reassurance,” says Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. surgeon general. “Homosexuality may not always be easy for children, but they can count on their parents’ love.”

Patrick’s parents still worry every day about Patrick’s safety. But Peter and Linda believe he’s at peace with himself.

“He’s excited to go to school now,” Linda says. “His friendships are strong. He’s being asked to act in regional theaters.”

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