Pin It

Being young and queer is, regardless of family and school situations, hard. There is no way around this reality, and it is no surprise that suicide rates are horribly high among gay, queer and transgender youth. Coming out can be terrifying and remaining closeted is fundamentally no better. Having the right resources can help you sort out conflicting feelings, manage the challenges of being young and out, and can allow you to sort through the difficulties managing family, friends and relationships.

If you are still in school, bullying and basic physical safety may be a real concern. Gay and lesbian teens are much more apt to be bullied, and may not find the school administration to be helpful. Webmd.com offers more information on bullying and gay teens. Unfortunately, most of us are aware that bullying often leads to physical violence against GLBTQ teens. More and more schools are working to combat these issues and create a more welcoming environment. If your school has a Gay-Straight Alliance or participates in Day of Silence, dayofsilence.org, activities, these can be a good way to judge the overall environment of the school before coming out.

Coming out to family and friends can range from nerve wracking to devastating. While you should not underestimate the love of your family, assess what you know about their views before coming out. HRC.org offers some great information on coming out to family and friends. You might also consider providing your family with brochures and meeting times for PFLAG, or even just the website link community.pflag.org. If you believe that coming out puts your safety, shelter or emotional health at risk, waiting until you have moved out of your family’s home is valid and reasonable. While we all hope to be able to come out and be accepted, your physical well being may need to be a priority while you are young.

One of the serious issues facing our community is the rate of depression and suicide among gay youth. While it is not surprising that gay and lesbian teens struggle with bullying, acceptance and self acceptance, there is help available. If you have a local gay and lesbian center, they may offer a support group for teens or free confidential counseling. In many cases, if you need a ride or other assistance, they may be able to help. If you are suicidal or in crisis, call Trevor’s Hotline at 866-4-U-TREVOR or online at thetrevorproject.org. Trevor’s Hotline is staffed by trained volunteers and is a 24 hour hotline for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people.

Another issue that must be mentioned that effects all young people, but in today’s world of abstinence only sex ed is more critical than ever is just that. If you need honest, clear information about sex, and about sexual issues that impact queer youth, see scarleteen.com or goaskalice.columbia.edu.

Bullying is Still a Problem for Teens

Above you will find some resources for gay youth in time for the Fall school season.  London has many subway ads proclaiming that Being Gay is OK and not to bully.  More ads ran in the US might be useful in buses and subways.  It could be the smaller towns where we see it most and the more black prominent schools have always been worse with bullying even though they are considered a minority.

My solution to most bullying in highschool, middleschool, and elementary is to encourage a mandatory dress system giving students black and white clothes to choose from so you do not have brand bullying.  This would also include certain shoes since shoe brands are a big bullying problem.  Hair should not be mandatory and should be freedom of choice if someone wants to have a mohawk or have pink hair that should be their expression.