Updated: Jul 15, 2020
Something achingly close to my heart are my own and witnessing family members struggle with mental health + depression because of our society, families, and a culture that still does not accept LGBTQIA2+ people. Especially transgender folx. These statistics are heartbreaking and every time I hear a story of another Child or teen who commits suicide due to bullying (usually connected to their sexual orientation) it’s heart breaking.⠀⠀⠀
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ These statistics are just not acceptable to me. I’ve sat next to family members as they’ve cried because of internalized homophobia & wishing they were straight, who have been ostracized by the extended family, and who battle depression. When I came out to my mother as bisexual I was met with silence & control. It was like a whole part of me, yet again, went unseen and like I didn’t exist in the fullness of who I was because of the denial.
Some steps to begin if you want to be a part of this change
1. Educate yourself on all these terms. Understand the difference between sex, gender, sexual orientation, etc.
2. Examine your own internal biases (in this cis-Hetero normative society we all have them) and make a commitment to discard non inclusive language, put downs ie “that’s so gay!” In your life.
3. Get to know LGBTQIA2+ people. If you don’t know one person, or realize you’ve had a subconscious aversion to getting to know someone in your workplace or friend circle, be curious why.
4. Learn about the history. Milk is a phenomenal movie to start with.
5. Advocate and learn what legislation is on the table in your state. Show up and vote for people who support equality.
6. If you’re a parent have these talks with your kids. The time of thinking your kids don’t know better or you have to “protect them” from these things is OVER. If they watch TV or the internet, they know. And if you think they need to be “protected” from these conversations that’s a judgement and something to look at. Your kid needs to know the house is a safe space if they are gay, or know how to befriend or stick up for someone at school who may be harassed.
This is not an inclusive list and I’m not an expert. Please visit The Trevor Project for more.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Cassandra Solano, LCSW
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