Dangers for LGBTQ+ youth

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The Trevor Project hosts a pride rally. Photo Credit: The Trevor Project.

Eli Stahl, Reporter

Did you know that 42% of LGBTQ+ youth do not see their community as LGBTQ+ safe? LGBTQ+ kids are four times more likely to commit suicide than their hetrosexual peers, and in 41 states, Gay Conversion Therapy, a very harmful way of “converting” homosexuals into heterosexuality, is still legal.

Conversion Therapy is typically performed by a healthcare professional and varies in danger level. In some cases, the person being ‘converted’ and the therapist talk, and the therapist tells them how horrible their lifestyle is. In other cases, people are forced to watch videos of gay people kissing while horrible pain is inflicted on them such as heat, cold, or electrocution, in the hope that the person will associate pain with being homosexual. Victims often develop Post Tramatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and can become suicidal. Nationwide, many citizens are fighting hard to erase Gay Conversion Therapy.

Meanwhile, members of the LGBTQ+ community are still constantly running for their lives, but some major breakthroughs have occurred in the past few years. For instance, on June 26, 2015, the supreme court got rid of all bans on same-sex marriage and required states to acknowledge out-of-state same-sex marriage licences. Even though it’s improving, LGBTQ+ people face many hardships in their everyday lives. Luckily, there are people and organizations who want to help.

At my school, tolerance for LGBT people is rising. If my friends came out as LGBT, I don’t think anyone would have a problem.”

— Josephine Cowan, a 7th grader at Castillero Middle School

 

The Trevor Project is a non-profit organization that provides questioning youth with information and support during the vulnerable period when they are figuring out how they feel, and deciding if or when to come out. It was started by a film producer named Peggy Rajski, who’s award winning short film “TREVOR”, which has a gay character, showed her that LGBTQA+ did not have a place in filmmaking. This inspired Rajski to do something, and now the Trevor Project is the only suicide lifeline in the U.S that runs 24/7, with trained volunteer counselors. On their website, they have a support center that gives kids information on different subjects, such as coming out, self harm, and what sexuality is.

Often LGBTQA+ youth are afraid that they are alone in the world; that there is no one who has gone through the same things. The Trevor Project decided to help with that by creating the Trevor Space, an online social networking site for LGBTQ+ community members ages 13-24. The Trevor Space in split into sections of topics to discuss, like gender identity or relationships, and there is a general “lounge” for topics that don’t quite fit in the other categories. In order to protect the teens and young adults who use the Trevor Space, you are required to create an account before being allowed to use the chat rooms, including picture identification. However, what you share with others in the chat is up to you.

LGBTQ+ youth across America suffer from bullying and abuse every day, but we can change that with the help of organizations like the Trevor Project. With enough people, we can finally pass laws to protect LGBTQ+ no matter where they live. If you want to help, you can volunteer at support groups, donate to helpful charities, or go to pride rallies. Whether you are young or old, big or small, you can make a difference in the fight for LGBTQ+ lives.