The Safety Of LGBT+ Youth

October 17, 2017

The safety and wellbeing of LGBT+ youth has always been stationed in a critical condition. Many have lost homes, lives and rights due to identities which cannot be changed. Although there have been many efforts reached to protect these youth, the risk of their lives still remains too high. Youth of the LGBTQ community deserve their safety considered a top priority by the people of America because of the hate they constantly endure. Such hate includes the invalidation which damages mental health, when home cannot be assured a safe place, and when a vast amount are assaulted in public for their identity.

      

Invalidation and peer harassment towards the youth of the LGBT+ community is quite damaging to their mental health. In the eyes of many, bullying seems less dangerous than other points stated. However, this would be why so many adults and peers overlook their youth falling into severe depression due to bullying. A majority of disrespect posed towards queer children and teens is unintentional, but an immense amount of it has been purposely targeted in the hopes of harming them. For instance, a fifteen year old, transgender boy by the name of Leo Etherington, commit suicide. According to Out Magazine, this was due to his teachers referring to him as his gender assigned at birth, and his headmaster banning his use of his name at school. Unacceptance and disrespect from his supervisors added to any other discrimination Etherington had dealt with, and had extremely foul results. Equally important to this would be the vast amount of slurs and bullying targeted at the LGB portion of the community. Often, especially in public schools, students use “Gay” or other slurs to insult the community. Many queer students feel terrified to come out, and out students continuously deal with threats and teasing based on their identity. Verbal harassment, fortunately, outweighs the instances of physical harassment. A litany of queer individuals have been attacked by peers on as well as off campus. Further action must be taken to ensure that queer children are safe from harassment wether it comes from peers or adults. 

 

Many households in America have unsupportive opinions on their LGBT+ children. According to the research done by the National Coalition for the Homeless, approximately 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT. Individuals who are not homeless either face the possibility of domestic violence or being evicted from their own home with no warning. A person’s gender identity or sexual orientation should never place them at risk of losing their home or life. Yet, many parents continue to verbally or physically abuse their children for identifying as anything other than cisgender or heterosexual. As The National Coalition For The Homeless says, “LGBT persons face social stigma, discrimination and often rejection by their families, which adds to the physical and mental strains/challenges that all homelessness persons must struggle with.” This violence leads to many queer youth leaving their homes intentionally or for their own safety. Meanwhile, a numerous amount of children struggle greatly with parents who have- or threaten to- thrown them onto the streets. These children cannot provide for themselves. America, as a country, should pass more laws forbidding parents to harm their queer children for their sexuality or gender identity.

 

Public harassment toward LGBT+ persons is increasingly common. However, it is always more dangerous for queer youth who are targeted both by adults and peers. Constantly, these children are forced to plan their commute ahead of time to avoid areas where they run the most risk of being attacked. Individuals often report physical and verbal harassment thrown at them via social media. Acts include, but are not limited to: Rocks thrown, slurs, and beatings. If an out queer teen walked on the streets alone, the chances of them being attacked are much higher than a cisgender, heterosexual teen. This has been especially true for transgender individuals whose identity is quickly and easily discovered. Many may argue that queer youth should instead travel in groups to avoid assault. In truth, it is safer. However, LGBTQ youth should be able to safely appear in public just as their cis, heterosexual counterparts.

 

To briefly conclude, the country of America must put more effort into creating a safer world for LGBTQ youth. Children who identify as queer should be safe in their schools, homes and even when simply taking a walk. Throughout this collection, many may have argued for the point that the world is already safe enough for our youth if they are careful. Yet, children still endure slurs, beatings and rejection. They cannot enjoy the same safety as others and have been forced to make multiple sacrifices just to survive. Despite those sacrifices, they still fear terribly for themselves. 






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