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Youth
 
Six percent of Australian High School Students Attracted to Same-Sex:  Survey
Unhealthy Behaviours 3-4 Times More Likely
ONLINE:  MONDAY JANUARY 3, 10:55 PM EST (GMT-5).

MORE Than 6% of Australian High School Students declared they are attracted to members of the same sex, a survey published this month in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health revealed.

Compiled by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society at La Trove University, the study also found that these students are up to four times more likely to consume alcohol at risky levels and inject drugs than their opposite-sex attraction counterparts.  Although "binge drinking," defined as more than five drinks on one occasion for boys and three for girls, was admitted by half of the survey respondents as having occurred within the last two weeks, same-sex attraction respondents were reportedly twice as likely to have had three or more of such sessions.

Professor Julian Gold of the Albion Street Centre told the Sydney Morning Herald that in his observations "going out and getting drunk with a bunch of heterosexual boys or using injected drugs was often an attempt to gain peer acceptance."  The study's authors wrote that "Those boys who fail to 'pass' as heterosexual may be more likely to seek safety by leaving school early."

In addition to the 6% finding reported above, 2% of the surveyed students declared that they were uncertain of their sexual attraction.  Furthermore, the study found that the reported proportion of same-sex attraction increased with age in girls:  5% in Grade 10 versus 8% in Grade 12.  The proportion for boys was stable across the two years at 5%.  The authors were quoted as speculating that "deviation from heterosexual masculinity is more vigorously policed than is [that] from femininity" and as urging schools to introduce programs to combat homophobia and beware of possible heterosexist bias in others.