I remember when I came out. Paralizied with fear as I watched my two best friends read my biggest secret. When they accepted who I was, I was filled with relief and happiness. I am lucky enough to live in a community with incredible, open-minded people. Meanwhile, many other people are experiencing extreme discrimination. Minors who depend on their parents or guardians are being kicked out of their homes with nothing but the clothes on their backs. I’ve seen the massacres at Pride Parades and places that were supposed to be safe. I’ve heard stories about kids my age being beaten, raped, and abused simply because they don’t “fit”. The treatment of the LGBTQ+ community is inhumane and has to stop.
A child or teen in the LGBTQ+ community comes out hoping their parents will still accept and love them.. Sadly, some react with disgust, confusion, and hatred. Many parents, unable to accept their child for who they are, give their child no choice but to leave with nothing.. Though these horrid situations are decreasing , it’s not decreasing fast enough “Up to 45% of all homeless youth identify as LGBTQ+” (American Psychological Association). And if that teen or child doesn’t leave or get evicted, there are many other forms of torment. Conversion “Therapy”, “which is still around in 29 out of 50 states” (Movement Advancement project) is essentially, torture. The “therapist” would attatch elctrocution devices to the gay teen then, while showing the teenager certain provacative pictures of the same gender together. When the child showed attraction,they would be electrocuted, and sometimes to the point of near death.. The people who did survive the torture, more likley than not suffered fromserious phsycological trauma. and no change to their sexuality.
Even if/when their parents accept them, LGBTQ+ youth still faced more challenges. According to a CDC study, “32.4% of LGBTQ+ youth were bullied on school property compared to the 18.8% of their heterosexual peers.” (New York Times). “42.8% of LGBTQ+ teens have considered suicide and 29.4% of those teens have attempted suicide.” (New York Times.)
It’s absurd that LGBTQ+ youth feel unsafe and terrified because of something out of their control. Children shouldn’t have to live their lives fearful. Thinking about who would notice if they died. No one should ever be tortured, especially for something that is unchangeable. Parents should be accepting of their children no matter what. We need to teach both parents and teens that being queer isn’t something you can decide. We need to teach people the LGBTQ+ community isn’t something to be afraid of. For our lives and for our future.