So, if your child or someone you know is LGBTQ+
LGBTQ+ youth in Tulsa attempt suicide at 3x the national rate for youthThe Prism Project, (Tulsa Reaches Out, 2019)
We promise you are doing the right thing by researching more information. Most young people will recognize when someone who cares for them is actively engaged in understanding their identity.
Unfortunately, as the statistic above shows local LGBTQ+ youth attempt suicide at a significantly higher rate than their peers. Research has actually shown having just one supportive adult cuts the chance an LGBTQ+ youth will attempt suicide by 40%.
We don’t share this information to scare you, but to show the reality of what LGBTQ+ youth experience and ways you can help as their trusted adult. We don’t have all the answers, but we have narrowed down a few key points and resources to help you along this journey.
Learn + Support + Love
Good news! You are already doing this step.
You don’t have to know all the answers or be an LGBTQ+ expert to understand the identity of your child. Take some time to brush up on terms you may hear when talking with them and read through tips from other parents who are experiencing similar situations about what helped them.
We love this page by healthychildren.org
We know support sounds incredibly broad – it is. Support will look different for every LGBTQ+ person. Ultimately, this step is just making a commitment to be your child’s trusted adult and embracing them as they are. This can be shown by
- looking for warning signs which may indicate they need mental health support
- using supportive language and gestures when talking with them
- standing up for your child when they experience bullying or mistreatment
- connecting them with LGBTQ+ organizations and support if desired, especially healthcare resources if needed
You can probably guess what this step means – love and embrace your child as they are. Doing all of these things won’t be easy for every adult seeking these tips, but if you can be the trusted adult your child needs during this moment in their life, you may be their only lifeline.
It’s ok to not understand everything right now. You are doing the right thing by seeking more information and we are always here to help. We want every youth to be supported by their family and community and to have the opportunity to plan their entire future.