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.
- 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.