Growing up in our current era is hard. Being an adolescent in 2021 looks much different than being a teenager in, say, the 1960s. There are pressures from all around: social media, school, family expectations, looking a certain way, and behaving according to cultural norms. Granted, teenagers in the 60s had similar pressures, but the addition of social media and advancement in technology has changed everything for today’s youth. Young people are trained to have instant gratification and are constantly being reminded of what they should be doing and how they should be living.
On a positive note, members of the LGBTQ and transgender communities are experiencing more inclusion than before. With the current progression in technology and societal fluidity, people of all types of backgrounds are being celebrated for who they are. People of different colors, genders, and cultures are being acknowledged as we have never seen before. It is a beautiful thing to be a part of. People of the LGBTQ and transgender community are becoming more welcomed for their identity and given the right pronouns in schools and at work. This cultural shift is something that teenagers in the 60s would have been awestruck by. Forty years ago, many individuals were hiding their identities because of the fear of being judged by coming out as gay or transgender. There was a stigma associated with being gay, and some people even considered it a mental illness. We have grown immensely as a culture, but we still have a long way to go.
Certainly, people are still struggling with coming out and being open about their sexual orientation or gender identity. Specifically, adolescents and young adults are facing backlash from family members or members of their community who disagree with their lifestyles. The result is often symptoms of depression, anxiety, and cognitive dissonance. This article will provide resources for LGBTQ and transgender adolescents and young adults that are in need of support.
Growing up can be confusing and it’s normal to wonder if you may be gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Many teens have these questions and there are ways to find guidance and support. For parents and caregivers, finding out your son or daughter is gay, lesbian, or bisexual can present challenges for your relationship. Learn more about how to be supportive during their decision.
Students have the power to make important changes at school and in the community and GLSEN can help support your efforts. GLSEN works to help end anti-LGBTQ bullying through their Day of Silence, Solidarity Week, and No Name-Calling Week events and activities that are designed to give you the tools to promote solidarity and respect for all. GLSEN also offers free resources for LGBTQ student-led clubs and Gender and Sexuality Alliances (GSAs) to give schools and student organizers ways to create safe and LGBTQ-inclusive schools.
The GSA Network advocates for educational justice and inclusion through empowering youth-led groups and Gender and Sexuality Alliances (GSA) clubs to educate their schools and communities and advocate for policies that protect LGBTQ+ youth from harassment and violence. Visit their website to learn more about joining a GSA club or training youth leaders.
This site provides information about important health concerns that affect LGBTQ teens, such as sexual activity, mental health, substance use, discrimination, and violence. It also addresses difficult issues like isolation, rejection, ridicule, harassment, depression, and thoughts of suicide. While many teens feel these things at some time, LGBTQ youth are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide than straight youth.
The It Gets Better Project was started in 2010 in response to ant-LGBTQ+ discrimination and violence. It Gets Better aims to inspire people across the world to share their stories and encourage younger generations of LGBTQ+ youth change is possible and it will “get better.”
The Q Card was designed to help queer and transgender youth advocate for more sensitive and inclusive healthcare. The Q Card is a tri-fold business card that lets youth fill out their sexual orientation, gender identity, preferred gender pronouns, and any specific concerns that may be relevant to the kinds of care needed. It also includes tips for healthcare providers on how to provide more sensitive care to queer and transgender individuals.
Q Chat Space offers online discussion groups for LGBTQ+ teens (ages 13-19) that are facilitated by verified facilitators from youth programs at LGBTQ+ centers around the country. This is not a forum and all live chats are without audio or video. Q Chat Space aims to provide a safe platform for LGBTQ+ teens to discuss relevant issues and receive caring support and helpful information. There are also online groups available in Spanish.
The Stomp Out Bullying organization was started in 2005 to help reduce and prevent bullying and cyber-bullying among youths. While most kids and teens face bullying at some point, LGBTQ+ youth face additional obstacles of harassment, abuse, and violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Stomp Out Bullying has advice and resources about addressing anti-LGBTQ+ bullying and prevention.
The Trevor Project was started in 1998 to provide crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ people under 25 years old. The Trevor Project offers crisis intervention services through the Trevor Lifeline, TrevorChat, and TrevorText, as well as suicide prevention training and resources. If you’re thinking about suicide, you deserve immediate help--please call the Trevor Lifeline at 866-488-7386.
The LGBTQ and transgender communities should be valued and deserve the same respect as anyone else. If you are a parent of a child who is questioning their sexuality or gender identity, please use these resources in order to better support them during this time. If you suspect that a loved one may have suicidal ideations, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. If you are interested in counseling, medical advising, or treatment recommendations, SokyaHealth can help. We provide mental health services to the Southern California, Oregon, and Alaska regions. We like to view our team as a family that believes in complete restoration for our clients. We provide treatment plans tailored to your specific needs and we offer telehealth services for those who feel more comfortable at home. To schedule a free consultation about our mental health services, call SokyaHealth today at 866-932-1767.