Family rejection based on sexual orientation or gender identity can have extreme effects on LGBTQIA+ youth. Although it can be hard for all kids to be kicked out of their homes, it can be much harder for these youths to be kicked out just for trying to be themselves. There can be many parents that are unaccepting and homophobic towards their children, so parents may kick their children out.
According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information (or NCBI), this is an issue because treating youth like this can cause these youths to over-drink, use drugs, and in some cases, may attempt suicide. These are crucial things to be educated on to help people in the community steer away from this path.
Over-drinking is common in this community even at a young age (NCBI). This can occur because these kids may have been bullied, harassed, or even kicked out of their homes. Because the youth have no one to turn to, they turn to alcohol. Over-drinking is an unhealthy coping mechanism because too much alcohol can cause major medical issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, liver disease, digestive problems, and cancer.
Drug use is another common coping mechanism in the community Over 30% of these youths use opioids and tobacco products. This may result in paranoia, depression, anxiety, aggression, hallucinations, or even cause death.
In addition, youth in this community are five times more likely to have attempted suicide or self-harm than heterosexual kids. One in six high school students nationwide has seriously considered suicide within the past year.
All three of these coping mechanisms are unhealthy, unsafe, and can hurt you in the long run. There are other ways to cope with your feelings when in this situation. Write out your feelings, talk to a friend, scream, etc. These are only a few things that can help you cope instead of drugs, alcohol, or suicide.
To prevent these things from happening, here are some ways we, as people, can help. For allies, help those in this situation find shelter. If you are a part of the community and are in these situations, seek help. Whether that help is to see a therapist or just a teacher, reach out to someone you trust to get help. Lastly, for anyone reading, just be kind. Being unkind like this and lowering people’s self-esteem, makes them anxious, or even suicidal.
If you or someone you know in the community is experiencing suicidal thoughts, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention offers resources such as a hotline. If you are experiencing homelessness in Naperville click on Youth 360 services and click on The Salvation Army for Aurora. If you are using alcohol or drugs, SAMHSA has a program for help. Lastly, we can all start to make a difference by being kind.