Timing is everything ya'll and our LGBTQ+ teens & tweens need us more than ever. A few weeks back, I had the honor of writing an article for Senior Year Magazine in regards to mental health and now it is officially printed for the world. Please share and continue to show awareness while also protecting our future generations.

Mental health and your lgbtq teens/tweens

Today, mental health is still a stigma for most to talk about but especially when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community. So many friends, families, co-workers, and more refuse to acknowledge that mental health issues are part of our community and a discussion we all need to be open to having and worried that we do not want too. Yet, teens and tweens of the future our taking control of their legacy now and using their voice to take a stand for their generation just as previous generations before them had done.

As an ally, I could not sit by quietly and not use my voice in some manner to bring to light the ongoing struggles our teens and tweens deal with every day. To help get an insider’s perspective, I have been honored to have an insider view of the local LGBTQ+ community through the eyes of a current Denton County high school senior, Isabella (she/her). With her permission, I can share some of her knowledge and experience with you and the world. She told me that when she came out in middle school, she experienced her first taste of homophobia from students within the athletic departments. As she grew older, her friends also received hate slurs and hate speech unbeknownst to their parents from other students in their grade. But Isabella along with so many other LGBTQ+ teens and tweens, are grateful to have the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) Club as an option of safety and support available when needed.

The Gay Straight Alliance is student operated or overseen by teens, tweens, and allies in your local area. One of the many amazing things GSA does is to “…build power for a growing movement of LGBTQ+ youth of color and we actively support youth through training in leadership, organizing, and advocacy for racial and gender justice. We empower trans and queer youth to educate your schools and communities, organize in coalition with other youth across identity lines, and advocate for just policies that protect all LGBTQ+ youth from harassment and violence….”

Unfortunately, the GSA or any type of support may not be available for them. So, teens and tweens then rely on their friends and family for support. But sadly, receiving that support can be slim to none. Due to teens and tweens not having any support, many end up with eating disorders, high anxiety, and the constant fear of being found out, if they should come out, or mention to anyone who they truly identify as.

Another amazing resource for so many kids in the community is The Trevor Project. The Trevor Project is “the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people.” According to the most recent (2021) Trevor Project National Survey:

·        Forty-two percent of LGBTQ youth considered attempting suicide

·        Forty-eight percent wanted counseling from a mental health professional but were unable to

·        Ninety-four percent said that recent politics negatively impacted their mental health

·        Seventy-five percent experienced discrimination based on their orientation or gender identity

If you do have a LGBTQ+ teen or tween in your life, show them your complete support by learning their chosen pronouns or how they would like to be identified (i.e., she/her, he/him, or they/them) Stand up for them or give them a shoulder to lean on when times get tough. Provide them with amazing resources so they know that they are not the only ones who have felt the same way they are feeling now. Lastly, let them come out to you and let them tell you their story as they may not want it shared with others. Of course, it takes a village to ensure our future teens and tweens feel safe, secure, and truly heard. But in the end, it all starts and ends with YOU. How do you plan to open yourself to these future LGBTQ+ teens and tweens of the world and providing a safe space for them?

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Place to purchase magazine: https://www.senioryearmagazine.com/digital-magazines-pdf