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Explaining self-harm: youth cybertalk and marginalised sexualities and genders

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>11/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Youth and Society
Issue number6
Volume47
Number of pages17
Pages (from-to)873-889
Publication statusPublished
Early online date29/05/13
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This study investigates self-harm among young lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans (LGBT) people. Using qualitative virtual methods, we examined online forums to explore young LGBT people’s cybertalk about emotional distress and self-harming. We investigated how youth explained the relationship between self-harm and sexuality and gender. We found that LGBT youth may articulate contradictory, ambiguous, and multiple accounts of the relationship but there were three strong explanations: (a) self-harm was because of homophobia and transphobia; (b) self-harm was due to self-hatred, fear, and shame; (c) self-harm was emphatically not related to sexuality or gender. There was evidence of youth negotiating LGBT identities, managing homophobia, resisting pathologization, and explaining self-harm as a way of coping.