June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) Pride Month. It’s a great chance for us at JF&CS to join in solidarity with the many LGBTQ+ people celebrating throughout the world and applaud Atlanta’s diversity and inclusion.
Pride was originally formed to commemorate people like Marsha P. Johnson, Harvey Milk, Craig Rodwell and LGBTQ+ leaders that have paved the way to a more open culture. That is how Pride started. It has also grown into a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies. Today, parades, parties, protests and proms are thrown to celebrate everyone’s unique identity.
This month is also a great time to raise awareness about the obstacles that the LGBTQ+ community face and how parents, friends and supporters can help. While many LGBTQ+ youth are happy and thriving, others may face challenges because of their sexuality.
According to CDC, 19% to 29% of LGBTQ+ students experience violence from the straight community, when dating or even from family members. Further, suicide is also twice as likely in LGBTQ+ adolescents between seventh and twelfth grade. They are also at a higher risk for substance abuse and risky behavior.
Parents or guardians, however, can address these issues with their LGBTQ+ children. Quickly responding to problems can help children and teens deal with problems and become more resilient for the future. As therapist, Jaime Stepansky, says, “Healthy relationships with adults can effect LGBTQ+ children in a really positive way. It helps build self-esteem, confidence and resiliency.”
How to Support Your LGBTQ+ Kids
Here’s what Jaime suggests for parents:
Stay involved – Making an effort to get to know your teen’s friends and know what’s going on in their life (even when they say they don’t want it) makes them feel safe and that you care.
Don’t Judge – Ask your child and teen about their sexual orientation. Let them know that you won’t judge them but want to support them and their choices.
Be proactive – There are resources that can help parents and other family to understand what an LGBTQ+ child is going through and if necessary, come to terms with it.
Find Help – JF&CS recently formed a support group for parents raising trans, gender-expansive and non-binary youth.
How Allies Can Celebrate Pride
In addition to parents, many straight people want to show their support but aren’t sure how. Here are some suggestions:
Celebrate Pride in a way that works for you or your family. That may be a themed dinner, reading books by LGBTQ+ authors, and donating or volunteering with relevant organizations.
Learn more about the history of Pride. Remembering the past can help teach about today.
A little bit of being an ally can go a long way. Wish LGBTQ+ friends and co-workers a “Happy Pride.” Just respect their privacy, they may not want to have a whole conversation about their sexuality or LGBTQ+ Pride.
We hope everyone has a great Pride Month and finds healthy and safe ways to celebrate that work for you. After all, being true to yourself is what Pride is all about.
This post has been contributed by a third party. The opinions, facts and any media content are presented solely by the author, and Atlanta Jewish Connector assumes no responsibility for them. Want to add your voice to the conversation? Publish your own post here.