This is the third of the Writing Themselves In national reports which have been conducted six years apart since 1998. In 2010, a total of 3134 same sex attracted and gender questioning (SSAGQ) young people participated in Writing Themselves In 3 (WTi3), almost double the number in 2004 and more than four times that of 1998.
The participants, who were aged between 14 and 21 years, came from all states and territories of Australia, from remote (2%), rural (18%) and urban (67%) areas and from a range of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. There were more young women (57%) than young men (41%) and a smaller group (3%) who were gender questioning (GQ).
In 2010, the complex interaction of sexual attraction, identity and behaviour was even more evident than in previous studies. Most young men were exclusively same sex attracted but half of the young women were attracted to both sexes and less than one third exclusively to the same sex. More than a third of young people realized their sexual difference before puberty and there were few gender differences in age of first realization.
More young people felt positive about their same sex attraction than in 2004. As in 2004, young people who felt bad about their sexuality used homophobic beliefs to describe their reasons whereas those who felt good used resistant, affirming explanations.
Most young men identified as gay/homosexual. Young women were more likely to identify as bisexual. Young women chose a greater range of identity terms to describe their sexuality.