Today is the 28th year of National Coming Out Day.
“Coming out” is a term used when an individual notifies friends and family about their sexual identity and orientation. It reflects the idea that anyone who does not identify as “straight” or “heterosexual” should keep their identity a shameful secret. National Coming Out Day is a day that offers support and encouragement to those who have come out as well as those who are struggling with the process. If you or someone you know is looking for helpful resources, check out The Human Rights Campaign.
There are a variety of reasons a person may closet their identity.
- Fear of shaming their family.
- Fear of being tossed out from their home.
- Fear of being bullied.
- Fear of isolation from friends and peers.
- Social constructs that shame a person for their true identity.
These are just a few of many, many reasons.
According to the Trevor Project, those who identify as LGB (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual) are four times more likely to attempt suicide than straight students. This is frightening especially since suicide is already the second leading cause of death for young people.
The National Coalition for the Homeless report that even though only 10% of the youth population identifies as LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender), 20% of the homeless youth population identify as LGBT. They are more likely to commit suicide than their straight homeless counterparts.
This makes me angry. This breaks my heart.
I identify as a straight ally. The reason I became an ally and also earned my certification in LGBT Studies, is because so many of these amazing people are marginalized, and I wanted to explore why this is and how I can help change this situation. Writing about LGBT concerns, talking about it, and voting for certain policymakers are small contributions allies can make, that together, can make big changes. For more information, check out the website of The Human Rights Campaign.
LGBTQA….So, what do all those letters mean?
I know – it is super confusing when you glance at the acronym. Read one of my old posts – it will help clarify this identity alphabet soup.
As you navigate adolescence with your child, keep in mind they may be struggling with identity or know someone who is. Be cautious how you speak about those who identify as LGBTQA – it is important to keep the lines of communication open.