DONE 1 The struggle of the LGBT community has been fought for many years. New laws and opinions are being introduced every day, but something that seems to be forgotten is the treatment of LGBT youth. It feels as if the embodiment of this minority is boiled down to the group that you see being pushed down and pressed up against a white wall in an early 2000’s movie. The truth is, many battles are being faced that the average person won’t even notice to the naked eye. LGBT youth are being emotionally, verbally, physically, and electronically bullied and abused everyday and not much is being done to stop it because no one notices enough to speak out.
DONE 2 Schools, especially in 2017, need a safe space for LGBT teenagers to be able to feel welcomed and protected. Clubs like a GSA or even a classroom that a student can feel comfortable being in is perfect for someone going through a tough transitional time in their life. Safe spaces are such a necessity for this minority due to its lesser representation in the outside world. Most places are more likely to turn you away if you are LGBT and that is something students should not have to face again in their education system. Many schools in our society do not have safe spaces and it should not be the children’s job to bring them to the educators attention.
As stated by GLSEN in an interview done by The Atlantic, “According to GLSEN’s report, half of teachers surveyed said that they haven’t done anything to support LGBT youth at their schools. In fact, teachers reported feeling the least comfortable dealing with LGBT students who’d been subject to harassment and assault; they were much more comfortable addressing those problems when they involved ability, sexism, and race.” Teachers should be showing their students it is okay to be who you are in their class and school environment and should not be ashamed! Many kids are being faced with this issue and even are being shunned away from their homes. DONE 3 LGBT kids live in fear of coming out to their families, scared of what they might think. Many teens will avoid telling their parents until they are already moved away to escape any criticism of their life.
“40% of homeless youth are LGBT kids” states the Williams Institute. One of the reasons of their homelessness is being kicked out of their homes by their parental figures. Other than that, children may choose to run away or leave without notice due to fear of what might be thought or by household circumstances after coming out. Not having stable lives outside school can cause issues with learning and a decline in grades and performance.
That can also allow these students to drop out and not live their life to their fullest potential. Not many LGBT students feel comfortable talking to their education system after being removed from their families, so they end up leaving school and going to the world on their own. There are homes and companies to help with homeless LGBT youth, but it is not well known. An interview with an anonymous homeless childhood home states, “While we would all like to see an end to homelessness among all youth, it is encouraging to see how many providers are not only willing to serve LGBT youth, but recognize the unique challenges that they face.” Inside of schools, we continue to see LGBT teens get harassed and bullied which causes mental health problems to increase. Words like “gay” and “queer” are being used in a condescending way, even if a child is not of the orientation. These slurs are often shouted across hallways of schools or commented under pictures of teens online without even a glance of a teacher or peer.
The Human Rights Watch states, “Over the last 15 years, lawmakers and school administrators have increasingly recognized that LGBT youth are a vulnerable population in school settings, and many have implemented policies designed to ensure all students feel safe and welcome at school. Yet progress is uneven. In many states and school districts, LGBT students and teachers lack protections from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. In others, protections that do exist are inadequate or unenforced.” Bullies seem to be forgotten in today’s age when things are very much so still real. After LGBT youth continue to deal with homelessness, bullying, being an outcast, or fears out outside society they become exhausted and this leads to suicidal thoughts. According to the Human Rights Campaign, “Over three-quarters (77%) of LGBT youth say they know things will get better.
” yet the Trevor Project states, “LGB youth are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth.” This is caused by oppression from the world and surrounding situations in a person’s life. Most of the time, these teens feel as if they have nowhere to go. They feel as if their parents, friends, teachers, and the world doesn’t accept them.DONE 6 Spaces in school, even including bathrooms, aren’t even available for some of this community in our society. Struggles with identity can have LGBT students feeling insecure in public restrooms.
In a Gender Spectrum Article, it states, “63.4% of transgender students reported avoiding bathrooms”. This causes more feelings of no support and stress for teens. The idea of transgender bathroom usage tends to be that they use them just to prey on the gender of inside and will end up molesting. There has been one case regarding this type of assault in 2016, which sent everyone in a frenzy to lock their families away from the transgender community.
Just because there are rumors, does not mean it will happen. Transgender teens and adults deserve to feel safe and happy in their own skin in public and this will not stop them. More frequently, transgender people are the ones getting attacked in public restrooms. “In one of the largest surveys of transgender and gender non-conforming Americans ever conducted, 70% of respondents reported being denied access, verbally harassed, or physically assaulted in public restrooms.” CNN states. As long as the transgender, LGBT community, and everybody else keep fighting for teens and adults, they can get what is right. A number of adults who are against this minority feel as if the LGBT community can’t find out their sexuality or gender identity when they are young when that is absolutely not true.
People can find themselves at any age. some people find who they are when they are young, yet some struggle with it as they grow older. Another myth is simply that someone must be mature to know. Being a certain age is not like aging cheese or wine, people don’t mature with time, only if they choose to try to. Not allowing a child to explore their identity can cause dysphoria or other mental problems relating to hiding who they really are.
CNN lets its audience know this in its article, “Just as it advises for adults, the medical community endorses letting children live their gender identity to avoid gender dysphoria or other conditions that may hinder mental or social developmental.” DONE 8 LGBT teens face a lot of challenges that most people wouldn’t face on a normal basis. Kids are struggling with their identity, sexuality, and finding out how and when they want to present themselves to the world. One click away is a safe space kit at GLSEN.
org’s website. “Designed to help you create a safe space for LGBTQ youth in schools, the Safe Space Kit is GLSEN’s Guide to Being an Ally to LGBTQ Students. The guide provides concrete strategies that will help you support LGBTQ students, educate about anti-LGBTQ bias and advocate for changes in your school.” (https://www.glsen.org/safespace) There’s also unlimited ways other peers can help this minority feel loved and safe. They can show support, go with them to pride events, give them shelter if they need it, clothes for transitioning, help set up a fundraiser for hormone replacement therapy and many more. One step is all it takes to help a struggling teen feel closer to being safe.
As much as it feels like the world is pushing against you, you have to keep fighting and pushing back.