Go ahead, judge me.

All one has to do is pay attention to current media to know suicide is on the rise in our country.  For my post on Detroit Moms Blog; 13 Reasons We Should Talk about 13 Reasons Why, I did some research on suicide data with young people.  Digging further into the staggering statistics there is one strong underlying cause, children who are members of the LGBTQ+ community, who not only face adversity in school but also at home, are at greatest risk.

Being a member of the LGBTQ+ community is still a struggle.  We want to think that it isn’t, that children are not being bullied because of their sexuality or gender but they are. I have been told that I should suppress my children, namely Michael, from expressing himself for fears that he will be bullied.  Because it’s not “normal”.  We are not ignorant to the fact that he may be bullied.  We are preparing for that very real possibility.  But, instead of burying our heads in the sand we want to be the support system for our child.  We want him to know that he has a safe place with us, in his home.  We want him to know we will protect him and fight with him.

I have many critiques when it comes to how we choose to raise our children.  Some vocal, some silent.  I am not immune to that.  Knowing this gives me fear. Fear that these parents are not teaching their children to love others as they are.  Not teaching their children to be acceptable of the LGBTQ+ community, inadvertently being the problem for those like my child down the road. My biggest fear though, is that one of these parent’s children will be gay, or transgender, or gender fluid but will be raised to feel so suppressed in who they are that they take their own life.  Every time I am criticized or judged I say a silent prayer for the children of that person.  I pray that he or she does not have feelings deemed “not normal” so they are able to grow up happy and healthy.

Here are some facts on suicide from The Trevor Project:

  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24.1
  • LGB youth seriously contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth.2
  • LGB youth are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth.2
  • Of all the suicide attempts made by youth, LGB youth suicide attempts were almost five times as likely to require medical treatment than those of heterosexual youth.2
  • Suicide attempts by LGB youth and questioning youth are 4 to 6 times more likely to result in injury, poisoning, or overdose that requires treatment from a doctor or nurse, compared to their straight peers.2
  • In a national study, 40% of transgender adults reported having made a suicide attempt. 92% of these individuals reported having attempted suicide before the age of 25.3
  • LGB youth who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGB peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection.4
  • 1 out of 6 students nationwide (grades 9–12) seriously considered suicide in the past year. [5]
  • Each episode of LGBT victimization, such as physical or verbal harassment or abuse, increases the likelihood of self-harming behavior by 2.5 times on average.6

An article written in Psychology Today goes on to say, “Generally speaking, factors that protect against suicide in youth include having a positive relationship with one or more parent, feeling positively connected to and included in school settings as well as feeling involved in a group of peers (Brent et al., 2009). Brent et al. have also identified adaptive family coping (namely: the willingness and ability of a family to alter its rules, structures of power, and relationship roles) as a protective factor against youth suicidal behavior and ideation.”

Many of those who criticize me will also say that if their child were to come out as “gay” they would love them either way.  Yet ask yourself, are you creating an environment that your child feels comfortable expressing who they are?  Do you expose your child to a cultured, open life so he or she feels comfortable in their own skin?

While I do not wish for my child to struggle or face challenges in his life I refuse to ignore and push aside what is blatantly apparent in who he is.  Instead of ignoring his gender creativeness we have chosen to embrace it.  To help him feel more secure in an insecure and unforgiving world.  He is already in therapy with a super supportive therapist helping him to feel comfortable speaking about his feelings and learning coping mechanisms.  We are taking a proactive approach.  I am also thankful that because his twin brother will grow up having an understanding and acceptance of all people, helping to make this world just a tiny bit better.

So please, go ahead and criticize.  Judge me.  Judge my family.  But at the end of the day all I care about is raising happy, healthy, kind humans and I will do whatever it takes to ensure that happens.

 

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