Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (In LGBT issues, that is.)

First the Good News:
·      Captain Franchino married Captain Hall on January 13, 2018 at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York.  The two Apache helicopter pilots stationed at Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas are the first active-duty, same-sex couple to exchange vows at West Point.
·      Gallup poll reports that 64% of Americans say same-sex marriage should be recognized as legally valid.  Last year, the figure was 61%. For first time, majority of Protestants support gay marriage.
·      In my state, Florida, over half of approximately two dozen U.S. municipalities have banned conversion therapy.  No other state has come close, except Ohio that has Senator Rob Portman (R) who has a gay son.  Florida also has the most local human rights ordinances passed out of any U.S. state without state-level protections for LGBT persons in employment, housing, and public accommodations.
·      PFLAG continues to work on bullying, sports access and  protecting bathroom, locker rooms not just in schools but in restaurants and libraries as well. PFLAG National will be working to change language in state bills that include so-called religious liberty.

Now the Bad:

·      Only 41 states in the U.S. ban conversion therapy.  Even Massachusetts that was the first state to have legalized same-sex marriage, and New York State still have the practice that can result in depression, suicidal ideation, and family rejection.  Nearly 700,000 adults have been subjected to this so-called “therapy.”
·      National Coalition of Anti0Violence Programs (NCAVP) found that single-incident, anti-LGBT homicides nearly doubled in 2017 compared to 2016.
·      GLAAD released findings from its fourth annual Accelerating Acceptance Report today and they show that less than ½ of non-LGBTQ adults (49%) reported being “very” or “somewhat” comfortable with LGBTQ people across 7 situations, down from 53% the previous year.  This is the first time Accelerating Acceptance Report has shown a decrease in acceptance for LGBTQ people.
·      Fifty-five percent of LGBTQ adults reported experiencing discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity, up 11% points from previous year.

Now the Ugly:

The decline of LGBT acceptance, according to GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis, “can be seen as a dangerous repercussion in the tenor of discourse and experience over the last year. 2017 brought heightened rhetoric toward marginalized communities to the forefront of American culture.”

The rollback can be attributed to the Trump Administration policies and headlines that were anti-LGBT including President’s proposed ban on transgender people to enter the U.S. military, confirmation of a Supreme Court Justice opposed to marriage and passage of a state law in Mississippi which allows business to legally deny service to LGBTQ families. 

To sum up, the State of the Union isn’t great for the LGBT population!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Suicide: It's All Too Common

Did you know that suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people, ages ten to twenty-four?  Compared to heterosexuals, LGB youth seriously contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate. 
And the numbers climb when a teen is transgender.  Thirty percent of transgender youth report a history of at least one suicide attempt and nearly 42% report a history of self-injury such as cutting.
As we know, bullying has negative effects. LGBT teens are bullied two or three times more than heterosexuals.  Eighty-nine percent of transgender students have been verbally harassed because of sexual orientation and gender expression, according to GLSEN ( Gay, Lesbian, Straight, Education Network). 
How Do You Know If Your Teen’s Moodiness is Actual Depression?
Moodiness doesn’t last, last, last.  As a parent, you need to know the signs of depression:
·      Inability to fall asleep or remain asleep for at least a week.
·      Loss of appetite and/or weight loss without trying to do so.
·      Feelings of extreme hopelessness and a sense of doom.
·      Inability to concentrate on work or family duties.
·      Feeling down or sad all the time.
·      No longer finding enjoyment in things or activities that you previously enjoyed.
·      Thoughts of wishing you were dead and/or actual ideas of wanting to harm yourself.
·      Feeling consumed by intense worry or concern that bad things are going to happen to you and your family.
How A Parent Can Alleviate Depression
“The best way you can help your child not to feel rejected is by remaining involved in the details of her or her life and by not avoiding topics that may make you uncomfortable,” according to psychiatrist Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.
Ask your child on a regular basis how he is feeling.  If he responds that he is depressed, ask him if he would like to speak to a therapist.
Research has found out that the presence of gay-straight alliances (GSAs) in schools were associated with decreased suicide attempts in a study of LGBTQ youth, ages 13-22.  Students who attended schools with GSAs were less likely to attempt suicide (16.9%) as opposed to students whose schools did not have GSAs (33.1%).
Caitlin Ryan, Ph.D., founder of The Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State, says LGBT youth “who experience high levels of rejection from their families during adolescence were more than eight times likely to have attempted suicide. Parental acceptance, and even neutrality, with regard to a child’s sexual orientation can bring down attempted suicide rate.”
Sources To Help Your Teen With Depression And/Or Suicide
·      The Trevor Project, a 24/7 Crisis Hotline
·      It Gets Better Project:  Hopeful stories from LGBT community.
·      Parents for Lesbians, Gay, and Transgenders
·      The Family Acceptance Project