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PRIDE Month and Family Acceptance

It's PRIDE Month, and L.A. CADA is celebrating. We're also working to promote family acceptance of gay children and youth in our families and communities. Home and family is where many of us first learn to love and support each other. That may not be the experience of young people who are LGBTQ+. When parents hold their newborn infant, few of them think their child might be gay or transgender. They may be dreaming of the future - such as weddings to heterosexual partners.

But many people are not heterosexual. The latest research shows that 7.6% of U.S. adults now identify themselves with the LGBTQ+ community. Studies also show that young people - both gay and heterosexual - first become aware of being sexually attracted to another person at around age 10. Some told their family members, and too often, this is when they learned that being gay was shameful. They realized gay people could be called names, discriminated against, and hurt by others. And some learned that their identity could embarrass and shame their families. So from an early age, many gay children and adolescents began to hide their deepest feelings from people they love.

The problem is that family is the primary support for children and youth; family involvement in their lives helps reduce adolescent risk. It should not be the place where lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender children first experience societal rejection. Studies found that LGBTQ+ young adults who reported high levels of family rejection during adolescence were:

  • 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide
  • 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression
  • 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs, and
  • 3.4 times more likely to report having engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse - compared with peers from families that reported no or low levels of family rejection

The Family Acceptance Project in San Francisco is working to change this. They remind us that the primary mechanism for change is helping families understand that there is a powerful relationship between their words, actions, and behaviors and their LGBT child's risk and well-being:

  • Give families respectful language to talk about sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Let parents and caregivers tell their own story and share their cultural experience.
  • Educate families on how family rejecting behaviors affect their LGBTQ+ child.
  • Know that a little change makes a difference in decreasing rejecting behaviors and increasing support for their children.

If you know a child or teen who needs help with gender identity issues, call L.A. CADA at (562) 926-3676. And learn about the many bilingual resources available from: The Family Acceptance Project.

Posted on: 06/10/2024

PRIDE Month and Youth

It's PRIDE Month, and L.A. CADA is celebrating. It's also an opportunity to raise awareness about our work for equal rights and acceptance, and to shed light on the unique challenges faced by youth. Non-gender-conforming youth want to be heard. Like all of us, they want acceptance, support, and love. But that's not so easy for them.

Have you heard of The Trevor Project in West Hollywood? They are the leading suicide and crisis intervention nonprofit for LGBTQ+ young people, providing information & support 24/7, all year round. The Trevor Project tells us that three in five LGBTQ+ youth report feeling scared about the future, while nearly half report feeling anxiety. Transgender and/or nonbinary youth are nearly 1.9 times more likely than cis-LGBQ+ youth to report having difficulty getting mental health care. Additionally, transgender and/or non-binary youth are 1.76 times more likely to report having difficulty getting physical health care compared to cis-LGBQ+ youth. Societal attitudes, discrimination, and lack of support are all contributing to higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide among LGBTQ+ youth compared to their heterosexual peers.

Some of the key challenges faced by LGBTQ+ youth include:

  • Discrimination and stigma: This can lead to feelings of isolation and low self-esteem, negatively impacting mental health and increasing the risk of mental health issues.
  • Bullying and harassment: LGBTQ+ youth are often targets of bullying and harassment at school or in their communities. This can lead to feelings of fear and vulnerability, further exacerbating mental health struggles.
  • Family rejection: Lack of acceptance and support from family members can be particularly damaging to LGBTQ+ youth's mental health, increasing the risk of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation.

How can you help? Be an ally. This powerful role means someone who has their back and is on their side because they know it's the right thing to do. In the LGBTQ movement, an ally is someone who may not be LGBTQ themselves, but is committed to equality - a person who will speak out against discrimination. Anyone can be an ally: a straight classmate who sticks by a friend questioning their gender identity; a teacher who serves as an advisor for a gay-straight alliance (GSA); or parents who find ways to promote respect for diversity in their child's school. Being an ally also means helping youth connect with resources, such as the counseling and treatment services provided by L.A. CADA. Call us at (562) 273-0462.

And check out the great resources available from: The Trevor Project

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