By Alexandra Temblador
A Pew Research study found that twelve was the median age that many lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons began to feel as if they were something other than heterosexual. Many LGB youth experience their first same-sex attraction at an even earlier than twelve which is why it is so appropriate that “The Fosters,” an ABC Family drama, recently featured the youngest same-sex kiss on television.
Adult lesbian, gay, and bisexual relationships are becoming more mainstream on many popular television shows like “Modern Family,” “How to Get Away with Murder,” “Scandal,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” and “The Fosters.” “The Fosters” is a drama on ABC Family that features an interracial lesbian couple and their children who are a mix of adopted, biological, and, ironically, foster children.
Similarly, lesbian, gay, and bisexual relationships among youth are also becoming more commonly depicted on television shows like “Glee,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “Faking It,” “East Los High,” and “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.” However, most of these shows depict LGB youth and their relationships during high school which is why “The Fosters” and their decision to have two thirteen-year-old boys kiss during an episode is so interesting.
If most LGB adults began to realize their sexual orientation at twelve years old, then it is only fitting that this dynamic be accurately depicted on television and “The Fosters” have done that with Jude and Connor’s kiss. Unfortunately, many LGB youth face a lot of hardship when coming to the realization of their sexual identity. Negative attitudes put LGB youth at a higher risk than their peers for discrimination, prejudice, and violence at school. This has caused LGB youth to be twice as more likely than their heterosexual peers to have tried to commit suicide.
What makes the same-sex kiss between two thirteen year old boys on “The Fosters” so significant is that it does a few things. First, it provides young LGBT youth who are struggling with realizing their sexual identity a positive image of young boys experiencing the same thing. Now they too can have positive role models that are their age on television. Secondly, it positively shows heterosexual youth that the experiences of LGB youth and their sexuality is just as “normal” as the exploration of their own heterosexual identities.
Although dubbed the “Youngest Same-Sex Kiss in TV History,” it is much more than that. “The Fosters” has provided LGB youth an experience that they can relate to. It has shown the world that an LGB youth’s relationships is the same as their heterosexual counterparts. If this kiss can open the hearts of just one young person or effect the acceptance and support of LGB youth among all youth, then it is more than just the “Youngest Same-Sex Kiss in TV History,” it’s a campaign for a world-wide acceptance of love without discrimination.