This photo made me smile. It is all about happiness. A feeling that all of us want to have at some point within our lives. Yet, some will interpret this picture negatively for various reasons other than seeing this person as a happy human being. I know that mindset all too well. It is one that I have encountered within my life. It does not feel good at all; however, you learn how to cope with it. Hurt people hurt other people. Misery shapes their mindset and actions. It is the reason that some politicians enact bills that discriminate and hurt others. For example, the Parental Rights in Education Bill dubbed as the "Don't Say Gay" bill that bans sexual orientation and gender identity issues from classrooms in Florida. Considering that 42% of LGBTQIA+ youth and 52% of trans youth seriously considered suicide in 2021 in American, (NEA, 2022), I think we need to keep our children and youth talking and feeling comfortable in the classroom. Anti-gay rhetoric increases mental health related issues with our LGBTQIA+ children and youth. My goal with this blog is to educate others about the mental health of LGBTQIA+ children and youth. It is not intended to persuade anyone to be more accepting of individual differences. Allow your own conscious to guide you on that one. However, let's start with the basics: What does LGBTQIA+ mean?
The term "LGBTQIA" is an acronym that represents a range of sexual orientations and gender identities. Here's what each letter typically stands for:
Now that you understand what the acronym means, it's disheartening to me that some people harbor hate towards LGBTQIA+ children and youth. This hatred, however, is hurting them. There are many reasons why some people hold negative attitudes toward this population starting with ignorance and lack of exposure. People who have limited exposure to diverse sexual orientations and gender identities may lack understanding and empathy. Ignorance can contribute to the perpetuation of stereotypes, fear, and prejudice. Here are other reasons:
Importance of Accepting LGBTQIA+ Children & Youth
Love is missing. To me, it is a lot easier to love than to hate and all LGBTQIA+ children and youth want is to be loved. Positive emotions toward them will decrease their negative feelings. These children may have a sexual orientation or gender identity that is different from societal norms or expectations and as a result, can face unique challenges and experiences in their personal lives, schools, and communities. You can help them by doing the following:
Mental Health & LGBTQIA+ Children & Youth
Important: LGBTQIA+ individuals face unique challenges and experiences that can impact their well-being and mental health. Some of the areas impacted include:
Remember, hatred and prejudice are learned behaviors, often rooted in ignorance, fear, and deeply ingrained societal biases. We do not need to hate anyone as a result of their unique differences. We need to do a much better job with supporting the mental health of LGBTQIA+ children and youth. Let's promote acceptance, create safe and inclusive spaces, provide access to LGBTQIA+-affirming mental health care, and challenge stigma and discrimination. You all better learn how to love one another!