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I was at a comedy show in Soho recently, when my slightly too loud cackle attracted attention from the comedian.

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One thing led to another, and I ended up being teased affably about my love life as the audience laughed on. Mae Martin is a queer performer, after all.

But any gay person who has experienced that niggle of anxiety before announcing their queerness will understand. My family and friends adore my girlfriend, and I no longer have personal qualms about my sexual identity. Growing up in the church has played quite a big part in these insecurities. The ultimate lowlight was confiding in a pastor about my sexuality when I was I could go on.

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So why do we bother going back to these places and people that have hurt us? The simple answer is that I still believe in a loving God, and I still have faith that views will change, and things will get better.

It Gets Better: Untold LGBT Youth Story

Plenty of queer people have been hurt by the church. During my undergraduate degree, I basically gave up going to church altogether because it felt like all the Christian students were hardened anti-gay evangelicals.

LGBT Rights

Those who reported having been victimized at one study check-in tended to have the same elevated risk of depression at a subsequent visit, regardless of whether they said they had had support from friends, family or others at the time of the bullying. Research that tracks LGBT young people over time like this is somewhat rare. But a recent announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may soon make similar research a little easier: Starting this year, the agency will recommend that all states include questions about sexual identity in the data they collect for the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, which monitors health risk factors among youth nationwide. Up until this point, only 20 states and 19 large urban school districts have asked such questions in surveys to young Americans about their health behaviors. The researchers do acknowledge these limitations in the paper, and Birkett says she and her colleagues are currently parsing their data to better understand the different experiences of various subgroups of the young people they studied.

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