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How Parents and Schools can Support LGBTQ Youth

Updated: 6 days ago

By Nataly Camacho


June is dedicated to celebrating LGBTQ communities around the world. One purpose of this month is to remember The Stonewall riots that happened on June 28th,1969. These protests helped to change gay rights for a lot of people in America and around the world.


Pride Month also calls for people to remember how damaging homophobia is. Studies have shown that 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ.


This puts them at a higher risk to commit suicide, report higher levels of depression, use illegal drugs, and engage in risky sex. It is important to continue raising awareness of issues affecting the LGBTQ community.


Uniting our efforts in reducing the effects of stigma and discrimination in the community would lead to higher self esteem among our youth, and a healthier identity development in our communities.


What can parents and guardians do?

  • Parents should talk to their teens in a way that invites open discussion about sexual orientation. This can help their teens feel loved and supported.

  • Parents should have honest conversations with their teens about how to avoid risky situations.

What can schools do?

  • Encourage respect for all students, and not allow bullying, harassment, or violence against any students.

  • Identify “safe spaces,” such as counselors’ offices, designated classrooms, or student organizations, where gay and bisexual youth can get support from an administrator, teacher, or other school staff member.

  • Encourage student-led and student-organized school clubs that promote a safe, welcoming, and accepting school environment.

  • Encourage school staff to attend training on how to create safe and supportive school environments for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

  • Make it easier for students to have access to community-based health services, including HIV/STD testing and counseling, and social and psychological services for gay and bisexual youth.

Whether we are straight or gay, we can all help to reduce homophobia, stigma, and discrimination.


References:

BBC. (n.d.). Pride month: What is it and why do people celebrate it? - CBBC Newsround. BBC News. https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/52872693.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016, February 29). Stigma and Discrimination Af ects Gay and Bisexual Men's Health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/msmhealth/stigma-and-discrimination.htm.

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