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Why PFLAG Matters


Photo Credit: http://mauipride.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/PFLAG-Logo.jpg


Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth face many of the same struggles as heterosexual and cisgender youth. However, LGBTQ youth are 8 times more likely to attempt suicide when they come from rejecting or non-accepting families (1). LGBTQ youth are also 3 times as likely as their heterosexual peers to attempt suicide (1). And LGBTQ youth are 2.5 times more likely to hurt themselves with each time they are physically or verbally harassed (1). These are sobering statistics to describe youth who are simply being their authentic, true self.


What accounts for the increased suicidal risk for LGBTQ youth? It is NOT because of who they are. It is their interaction with an unsupportive and misunderstanding environment that creates the inner turmoil that often leads to increased suicidal ideation and attempts (2). LGBTQ youth are often subjected to overt and micro aggressions in school, peer groups and their families, which has increased negative consequences for youth (and adults). Alternatively, if youth have the love, support and are affirmed for who they are, by even just once caring person, these negative consequences are greatly ameliorated and create the resilience needed in other nonsuppurative environments (3).