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Gay Teen Health Crisis

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Another side effect of bullying? No one really knows, but this is bad news for teen health.


All along health professionals have focused on the psychological effects of bullying. A kid would have to be desperate to begin steroid use in hopes of developing a muscular body and the strength to fight back.

I think we all know that DNA is responsible for the bodies we have. Just because a young boy is slender doesn't mean he displays any gay traits. In my younger days I knew gay boys that were football players in size and strength, the gene pool contains all kinds of individuals.

But just as any kind of drug use is unhealthy, steroids affect the body and mind of developing boys. Something must be done to prevent this kind of damage, and again the focus should be on the bullies. We need harsher penalties for those who would assault either verbally or physically. Parents and schools must be held accountable if they tolerate such behavior. Things need to change.

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Maybe we should not be surprised given the amount of "perfect body" imagery that turns up in the gay press. Looking at a couple of high street gay magazines it appears that for any gay boy there is one of two choices, either muscles, muscles and yet more muscles or boobs and a drag outfit. Youth generally today is body conscious to an extent that seems mad but gay youth are particularly hit by this. How much do we help in our writing when we give the description of our heroes, so many of them seem to have a perfect body?

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I don't believe this is unique to the gay press. Body image has been an ongoing issue with teenagers for at least ten, if not twenty, years to my knowledge. I can appreciate that it might have more impact on gay teenagers, but it's not unique to them and I'm not even sure it's really impacting them more than the general teenage population.

It's not just our stories. Consider the teenage soaps -- how many people are in those TV shows that don't have a great body image? How many males, gay and straight, admire athletes, who, again, almost always have great bodies?

Today's society is still very much focused on body image. There was a lot of emphasis a number of years ago on dietary problems that this caused, especially in young women. The use of steroids by young men appears to be the next evolution in an ongoing issue.

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Appreciation of body image is not a recent phenomenon. I remember quite clearly, that some 60 years ago, I was wanting a body similar to those seen in body-building magazines as they were called back then. The photos in those magazines were provocative, sexy and bulging with good looking guys. My puberty was enriched by those magazines and their photos. They were the closest thing we had to porn in my youthful years.

Being an ectomorph, I was doomed to never be an athletic type . Would I have taken steroids? I don't think so; I guess I'll never know, but I certainly admired the muscular male body. I joined a gym in my twenties but couldn't put an ounce of muscle on my body, despite consuming protein powders. My trainer told me to be happy that I had improved my definition; it was as much as I could hope for, he said. Now-a-days I expect to stand in as the before model in a funeral home.

Descriptions of perfect muscular bodies in stories don't work for me. It's enough to allude to the body type in order to set the character and scene, except for when the plot hinges on such description.

What I think has happened in today's world is that youth may feel intimidated if they cannot achieve spectacular muscled bodies, and that may lead them to being tempted to try such things as steroids. Self body image is very important to the young and if they are intimidated because they do not fit the current mould of body fashion they may well be prone to being bullied for feeling less than adequate. The bullying problem is of far more concern and is also a self image problem inherent in the bully that they feel the need to bully others.

Even a few stories that centre on the worth of the person inside the less than fashionable perfect body, could assist acceptance of less than physical perfection. And remember that beauty is still in the eye of the beholder.

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I saw this as a local news report, and I thought, "what's the mystery? Gay boys desperately want more muscle." Of course they're going to use performance-enhancement drugs. If I could've had access to these drugs when I was a kid in the 1970s, I would've grabbed them immediately.

Note that neither steroids nor human growth hormone nor testosterone will build muscle. What they actually do is help repair muscle after a hard workout, and give you faster recovery time. If you're a couch potato and take tons of drugs, you're never going to be muscular. The only way to do that is to hit the gym. The drugs just make it less painful and more productive.

The problem with teenagers taking any drugs like this is that it will F them up at this age. Doctors say you should be at least 18 before taking any drugs like this, and they have to be monitored carefully (that is, ahem, in countries where they're still legal). There are a lot of health risks for young kids taking crap like this, including terrible mood swings, depression, increased acne, liver damage, all kinds of stuff.

In moderate doses, it's actually not that bad. The problem, though, is when idiot kids assume that if a small injection of steroids is good, then a massive dose is even better. That's bad. And we're in a world where an average high school has linebackers that are all over 200 lbs. You can't tell me they're not using drugs. Compare that to 20 years ago, when the kids were maybe 150-160 lbs.

On the other hand: I'd rather they be doing steroids than killing themselves with heroin, crack, and all that crap. That stuff is alarming, and the increase of easy heroin availability on the streets is at an epic level. (Witness the recent death of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman.)

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