Sunday, July 22, 2018

Are LGBTQ Teens Better Off Today?

New Study by HRC/UConn. Shows LGBTQ Feel Anxious and Depressed!

The Human Rights Campaign jointly with the University of Connecticut released their findings last May of the survey done of 12,000 LGBTQ 13 to 17 year-olds across the United States. https://www.teenvogue.com/.../new-study-shows-lgbtq-youth-feel-anxious-and-depressed/ The results revealed that most of these LGBTQ teens are experiencing extreme levels of anxiety and stress daily in school and at home.

Here are highlights of the alarming statistics:


  • 77% of respondents reported that they felt depressed in the last week.
  • 95% experience trouble sleeping.
  • More than 3/4 of the people surveyed reported feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, signs of depression.
At home:

  • 67% said they've heard families make negative remarks about their sexual orientation.
  • 78% surveyed responded that those negative comments influenced their decisions to come out.
  • The non-acceptance is worse for LGBT youth of color and trans youth.  They are more likely to be taunted or mocked by their families.
These findings often run counter to the pride that LGBTQ teens feel.  In fact, 91% reported feeling pride in their identity and 93% feel proud to be members of the LGBTQ community.

So, this positivity is not offset by parental rejection, parents can do the following, according to Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D., co-author of When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know (Sterling, 2016):

  • Accept that you do not have the power to change your child's sexual orientation. Do not think being gay is a phase or choice.  Accept that your child is definitely and permanently gay.
  • If you reacted badly to your child's coming out, it's never too late to remedy the situation: First apologize.  You might say something like "what you told me last week really came as a surprise to me.  While it may take some time to digest the news, but I will always love you."
  • The only way to alleviate internal angst and achieve a sense of equanimity is through acceptance. 
  • Listen, listen, lister to gain understanding of your child's sexuality.  Put down the cell phone/newspaper. Focus on the individual without any distractions.
  • Demonstrate in both words and acceptance that you will always love and support him/her unconditionally.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

When The Birds and Bees Only Fly Straight

As the parent of an LGBT child, you may not want to leave sex education to your child's middle or high school.  In San Diego, parents picket sex education at their schools because they don't find mention of anal sex, masturbation appropriate for middle schoolers. In conservative Orange County, California, parents can withdraw consent for the whole sex education curriculum or for instruction on HIV and STI prevention.  However, what they cannot do is specifically withdraw their consent for class instruction deemed non-discriminatory on sexual orientation and gender identity, according to the California Healthy Youth Act in 2015.

In seven other states, Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas, local or state education laws that expressly forbid teachers of health/sexuality education from discussing LGBT people or topics.  These laws are called "no promo homo." Some laws even require that teachers actively portray LGB people in a negative or an inaccurate way, according to GLSEN, Gay, Lesbian, Education Network.

As LGBT-inclusive curriculums are few, and erratic at best, it's better for parents to be the sex ed. teachers.  A school or doctor can't impart values about sexual relationships as a parent can.  An LGBT student may be embarrassed to ask questions about sexual health in school for fear he will be singled out and harassed.

While you may be uncomfortable discussing sexual practices, birth control, sexual diseases, among other concerns, it will make a favorable impression on your LGBT child. Your home is not a semester-only class.   Do your LGBT homework so you can deliver the material in your home.  It's ok to admit you're embarrassed at first, but the curriculum is yours, and you will know how it's delivered.

Knowledge is empowering.  Contrary to beliefs, frank instruction does not lead to sexual promiscuity.