A paper like this one and the accompanying presentation, are very important because they serve to inform and raise awareness of a population that has perhaps been neglected in other courses: gay, lesbian, and bisexual (GLB) adolescents. .
Sexual orientation, biological sex, gender identity, and sex-role comprise sexual identity. This refers to "an enduring emotional, romantic, sexual, or affectional attraction to another person (Hollander, 2000)." In middle childhood and early adolescence establishing sexual identity is a natural process. However it is more stressful for those students who are homosexual especially if they express it to others, because the majority of people in society are advocates for heterosexual behavior. It is seen as normal or natural for a boy to be attracted to a girl and a girl to be attracted to a boy. Any delineation of heterosexuality is often seen as strange or abnormal, and whoever practices otherwise has been viewed as a pariah, deviant, and sick. Prior to 1973 society considered homosexual individuals as mentally ill. The DSM IV regarded homosexuality as a disorder, which could be treated and possibly cured. Conversion therapy that was used to change the sexual preference of gays was popular. Today it is not regarded as healthy or effective. We must acknowledge other sexual preferences such as men attracted to men or homosexuality (or as society expresses it, gays); women attracted to women or lesbianism; and men and women liking either genders or bisexuality. The range of sexual identity now also is inclusive of those that are transvestites (those having characteristics of both sexes). .
According to Erik Erickson, "identity formation is the most important developmental task of adolescence." Adolescents are faced with the issue of finding the true self. Sexual identity therefore is of main concern. Same gender attraction violates a fundamental norm of society where men and women are encouraged to be attracted to the opposite sex, marry and reproduce.