The LGBTQ+ Community

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The history of the LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, plus) community isn’t pretty. It’s riddled with murder, riots, suicide, and negligence. One of the biggest things most people know negative about the community is something called conversion therapy. It starts way back in the progressive era. During the 1890s doctors and other medical professionals tried castration on homosexual men or men who claimed to have feelings towards another man.

Castration is the removal of a man’s testicles (Anderson). This was done in hopes of ¨removing¨ homosexuality from them. From the 1900s to the 1920s some medical professionals began experimenting with testicle implants to treat physical problems in a gay man (Anderson). There were plenty of ways that people did the therapy but they were all painful and worse than the last. Some medical professionals hypothesis that desire was a development problem. Conversion therapy was a way to ¨change¨ a person’s sexuality or gender identity.

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Trauma is most often caused by these therapies. Statistics from 2018 estimate that 698,000 LGBTQ+ Americans have gone through conversion therapy (Anderson). 20,000 additional LGBTQ+ youth work with professionals to go through conversion therapy while 57,000 more seek help from religious leaders (Anderson). Now not only have medical professionals have tried to fix¨ those in the LGBTQ+ community but partners of those in the community have also tried. The types of domestic violence along with their most recent statistics are; 28% experience physical violence, 15% verbally harassed, 4% have experienced sexual violence, 10% threats, and intimidation, and lastly, 11% have experienced violence with a weapon (NCADV).

A little over 43% of lesbian experience physical violence, sexual violence, or stalking while a little over 61% of bisexual females have (NCADV). Gay men are at 26% and bisexual men are at 37.3% of psychical, sexual abuse, and stalking (NCADV). Transgender victims are more likely to experience violence in public(NCADV). Between therapy and abuse, mental health can take a toll. No matter the age, young or old, can suffer from mental health issues regarding sexuality or gender. Statistics say that LGBTQ+ youth are more likely to experience mental health issues such as depression and anxiety (Human Rights Campaign).

LGBTQ+ individuals from ten to twenty-four are more likely to attempt and/or think about suicide (Human Rights Campaign). Suicide is the leading cause in the LGBTQ+ community, youth especially (Human Rights Campaign). LGBTQ+ youth are four times as likely to question while three times attempt suicide and engage in self-harm than heterosexual youth (Human Rights Campaign). Not that heterosexual youth are subject to that but due to a stigma of being LGBTQ+ and with the president trying to ban transgender people from joining the military, some LGBTQ+ youth see it as the only way out.

As of recently, it seems transgender youth are having the most problems. Like mentioned before of the banning of the military but even those being transgender are being refused treatments from medical professionals. All LGBTQ+ are more likely to run away then their peers. Transgender youth is at a higher risk of being sexually exploited and/or abused (“How to Reduce”). What leads to these mental health issues among youth can reside in schools too. Those in the LGBTQ+ community are often bullied, abused, harassed verbally, physically, and sexually. Fear and anxiety can be brought up in these students causing them not wanting to go to school which will lead in grade drops and mess up their future all because of the fear of being bullied by their classmates.

A good amount of LGBTQ+ youth do have a positive outlook. 77% of LGBTQ+ youth believe that things will get better (“How to Reduce”). Though a lot of LGBTQ+ youth feel better being out online than in reality. They feel it’s easier. They’re resources to help LGBTQ+ youth if they?e in need. There are international suicide hotlines along with LGBTQ+ hotlines. The LGBTQ+ hotline helps those in the community but also those who want to learn more. These hotlines provide a safe space for those contacting it making it easier for them to talk.

The issue that stands today is that people of the LGBTQ+ community are treated as second rate citizens. Parents disown children for coming out. It’s actually quite a common issue among high school children who come out to be disowned and/or kicked out. On the note of parenting, gay couples often have to deal with harassment for them adopting children despite so many children in the foster system (“9 Battles”). Hate crimes are another big issue. One in five hate crimes are due to sexual orientation and another 2% were because of gender identity (“9 Battles”). Recently there has been an epidemic of hate crimes towards transgender individuals. Thirteen transgender individuals were killed in 2017 (“9 Battles”).

Many have dealt with workplace discrimination. They’ve been fired and sexually harassed. A lot have to hide their identity for work just so they can earn a living. They can also legally be denied buying a house because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Transgender people face not being able to use the bathroom they’re comfortable with. Public school bathrooms have become the worst. They’ve been yelled at and discriminated by teachers and principals for wanting to use the bathroom they’re most comfortable with.

Those in the LGBTQ+ community have been denied health care. They’ve been denied health insurance as well. Transgender folk has the most issues currently. As well as being denied marriage rights. Despite it being legal in all fifty states for gay couples to marry there are quite a few individuals who refuse to marry someone based on their sexual orientation. I took some time to interview four individual youth of the LGBTQ+ community to find out what they’re dealing with regarding the things I’ve talked about. I thought getting straight answers from LGBTQ+ youth would show you how serious all of this is. I interviewed Brendon Goral, age seventeen, they’re bisexual and transgender. Addison Grey, age thirteen, bisexual.

Skye Wilkins, age nineteen, lesbian. And lastly, Kennedy Bounheuanguilay, age fifteen, demipansexual. I asked them each five questions; have you ever dealt with verbal harassment? Physical harassment? How has coming out/staying in the closest affected your mental health? How did your family/friends react? and, if there was a program where LGBTQ+ youth could be placed in safe homes away from abusive family and/or environment, would it be a good idea and would you participate in the future to provide your home to the program? ¨Unfortunately.¨

Brendon answered when dealing with verbal harassment but answered ´no´ to being physically harassed. Though his mental health has taken a toll due to his sexuality and gender identity. He has only come out to his friends due to being ashamed to come out to his family. ¨It’s a fantastic idea! It gives LGBT youth a safe environment. Yes, I would love to be apart of helping something like that¨ He responded to the question about safe homes. ¨Not up front but I expected to.¨No to verbal harassment and no to physical harassment.

Depressed, no. Anxiety, yes. Fear of acceptance. It messed me up but I wouldn’t change that I’m LGBT.¨ Lots of her family is LGBTQ+ so it wasn’t that big and her mom is the best about it. She agreed that the idea of safe houses is a great idea and that she would love to help. Skye dealt with a lot of verbal harassment in secondary school but luckily no physical harassment. ¨A lot. I’m mostly in the closet. I feel really low¨ was her response to her mental health. She’s only come out to friends. ¨I think it’s a good idea and I would like to help.¨ Kennedy hasn’t dealt with verbal or physical harassment.

She was sad when she was closeted in fear of not being accepted. Her friends didn’t care but her mom still confuses her sexuality. ¨Yeah! If anyone is in danger it’s good to have a safe place. And of course, I’d help.¨ The status quo is completely messy. There’s nothing protecting LGBTQ+ from being abused, harassed, etc. The public likes to turn a blind eye. School’s are the worst at this. They tend to disregard the bullying that their LGBTQ+ students face on almost a daily basis. So many LGBTQ+ youths are running away, being kicked out, and unfortunately taking their own lives. The president has made it worse for transgender individuals by not letting them join the military. All of this has put a bad reputation around the community where people are fearing to just come out.

Some fear being abused or even killed. Youth worry about being bullied or being kicked out. Some LGBTQ+ are lucky to live in a nice environment but some are not that lucky. Quite a few are being denied medical treatment because of their sexuality or gender identity which is completely unjustified and unprofessional. No one should have to fear for their lives for being who they are.

Things like pride parades have mass shootings so when parents find out their child is part of the community it worries them and they try to force their child to change in fear of them being killed or bullied. Often shooters at these type of LGBTQ+ events are praised online and it gets worse. There are kids who fear going home cause their parents are abuse over their sexuality and/or gender identity. A solution that would be amazing for LGBTQ+ youth is safe homes. Like foster care where they’re put into a home if, for example, their parent is unstable.

If a kid’s parent has an issue and becomes abusive or aggressive over it, they can go to a safe home. Safe homes will be regular people’s homes they want to provide temporary shelter for these children in case their parents need to cool off and think or even call a social worker or someone like that to remove them from their home. People apart of this program will have extensive background checks to make sure these children are safe. The people at safe homes can give advice on how to deal with the situation.

They can give them the resources to get out of the house and provide comfort. This will give LGBTQ+ youth a safe way to deal with the issue instead of running away or taking their life. Safe homes can be actual homes or businesses willing to watch the child and help them get safe. It would help a lot of kids afraid to go home and get them help quicker instead of them suffering and hoping things will get better. Sometimes students aren’t able to tell teachers or even counselors at their school. This will provide a quick way to get help.

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The LGBTQ+ Community. (2020, Apr 20). Retrieved from