Growing Up Gay May Give You An Academic Advantage

A new study, Intersecting the Academic Gender Gap:  The Education of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual America, published in The American Sociology Review in 2022, purports that growing up gay gives that population an academic advantage.

This survey was written by Joel Mittleman, a University of Notre Dame sociologist, and concluded that based on his three studies:

  • Gay men outperform virtually everyone else in a wide array of academic measures.
  • Gay men are far more likely than straight ones to graduate from high school and college.
  • More than half of gay men have earned a college degree, unlike a third of straight ones, including straight women.
  • About six percent of gay men have a Ph.D., J.D. or M.D. – 50% higher than straight ones.
  • In high school and college, gay males earned higher grade point averages and were more likely to enroll in challenging classes and take school more seriously.

How do you account for the difference in academic excellence between gay men and others?

Some theories:

  1. Gay males are often harassed in school. They excel academically to compensate for bullying.
  2. When Mittleman analyzed his data, he discovered that the answers provided by gay men of all races were more similar to those of straight white women, proving that sexual orientation itself doesn’t drive academic performance. Does this mean that sexual orientation and gender identification may be the actual reasons for stellar academic performance?
  3. Gay males don’t have a problem, as straight ones do, with endorsing the perceived feminine trait of excelling academically.

The Stress of OutPerforming The Competition

Extreme stress can cause mental health issues, depression, even suicide. It can affect your child mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Parents, if you notice any changes in your child, causing more harm than benefits, please urge him to get more sleep, balance his life with exercise, hobbies, and social interactions. While he’s in school trying desperately to excel, it may be a good idea to have him explore why he is so driven with a therapist or counselor.

When Your Child is Gay

When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know

For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.

Wesley Cullen Davidson

Wesley Cullen Davidson is an award-winning freelance writer and journalist specializing in parenting as well as gay and lesbian content. For the past two years, Wesley has concentrated almost exclusively on the lesbian and gay community, specifically on advising straight parents of gay children on how to be better parents and raise happy, well-adjusted adults

Leave a Comment