LGBTQ+ teens are at risk of experiencing more social and mental difficulties which can negatively impact their well-being.
Ever since the Stonewall riots in 1969, Americans have been celebrating the diversity and cultural contributions of the LGBTQ+ community during what we now call Pride Month.
However, I believe it is also an important time to address the struggles and challenges many of the LGBTQ+ community face, particularly the LGBTQ+ youth.
Unfortunately, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) LGBTQ+ Youth Report, many young LGBTQ+ individuals are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and homelessness than their non-LGBTQ+ peers. Many young people, particularly trans and non-binary teens, have also attempted or committed suicide more than their non-LGBTQ+ peers.
This is especially true for young members of color, where racism, along with cultural and religious stigmas are often prevalent and impact their very survival in their schools, communities, and at home.
Fortunately, reports from both the HRC and CDC show that child welfare agencies are working diligently to provide support and safe spaces for LGBTQ+ youth. Also, with shows like 'Andi Mack', 'I am Jazz', and 'Pose', there is more representation and exposure to the experiences unique to young LGBTQ+ people.
Yet currently, many states are creating legislation to allow gender and sex discrimination, like Arkansas, which recently banned gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth. This limits their human rights and threatens the lives of our young people, so there is more work that needs to be done.
If you would like to help kids and teens who are LGBTQ+, you can by donating money or your time to a charity dedicated to helping LGBTQ+ youth, organizations like The Trevor Project, that provides services including crisis intervention and suicide prevention to LGBTQ+ youth under the age of 25. For other ways you can proactively support LGBTQ+ youth, click here.
I hope you have the opportunity to celebrate and support an LGBTQ+ blossom you know and love, and even share books with them that include characters in the LGBTQ+ community so they feel seen and understood. It could change their life for the better.
HRC Staff. "New Study Reveals Shocking Rates of Attempted Suicide Among Trans Adolescents". https://www.hrc.org/news/new-study-reveals-shocking-rates-of-attempted-suicide-among-trans-adolescen. HC.org. Human Rights Campaign. 12 September 2008.
Valencia, Misha. "The Challenges of the Pandemic for Queer Youth". https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/29/well/family/LGBTQ-youth-teenagers-pandemic-coronavirus.html. NYTimes. com. The New York Times. 29 June 2020.
Yorcaba, Jo. "Arkansas passes bill to ban gender-affirming care to trans youth". https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/arkansas-passes-bill-ban-gender-affirming-care-trans-youth-n1262412 Nbcnews.com. NBC News. 29 March 2021.