Raise Vegan September 2018 Raise Vegan (2) - Page 39

I n the first part of this series, a question was asked about how a parent should react if their child comes out to them as LGBTQ+, and it really highlighted the fact that the way in which a parent or primary caregiver reacts has a huge influence on the mental well-being of their child. One of the statistics we mentioned was the high suicide attempt rate of people who identify as LGBTQ+, especially transgender people with a lifetime rate of 41%. This number does not tell us the entire story. Most parents reading this have younger chil- dren, and sadly, younger generations have even higher rates of attempted suicide. The 41% statistic only applies to older adults. Transgender 18- to 24-year-olds are slightly more at risk, with 45% reporting that they’ve attempted suicide. The most sobering reality is that 50% of trans children, those under 18 and the most vulnerable, report that they’ve attempted suicide. The highest suicide attempt rates are among people of color, though the rates are shockingly high across all demographics. The point of this series isn’t to scare parents; there are rays of sunshine and hope. We are here to help you understand what your child needs from you in order to feel supported and accepted. Studies have shown that when LGBTQ+ youth are met with acceptance and love, recognized for who they are, called by the name and pronouns that they have asked for, and are generally given the same access in school as any other student, the suicide rate tends to fall back down to the rate of the general population. In spite of these statistics, kids continue to be silenced and told that their identity is not ‘real.’ They are bullied, not taken seriously as a person, and oftentimes, treated as subhuman and mocked. The harrassment can even extend to having their private thoughts and personal lives scattered across social media by cyberbullies. Society tells trans-kids that they cannot use the bathrooms of the gender with which they identify, wear the clothes they want to, be called the name they have chosen, or use their preferred pronouns. They are constantly singled out as different, and society is gatekeeping them and stopping them from joining the gender community to which they belong. The heartbreaking reality is that some parents condone this invalidating behavior, sometimes even from other family members, towards their LGBTQ+ children. Either expressly or with their silence, they allow this abuse simply because they don’t want to ‘rock the boat’ during this transition. Then there are those parents who are so vocal, so disgusted and blinded by bigotry, that they evict their children, disown them, and become the person they never imagined they could be when that little baby was born - all promises to protect and be there for them, ignored. In this situation, love is not a guarantee. We cannot control every person our children encounter in life. We can, however, control our own actions, by learning and educating ourselves on how we can improve, resolving to do better, and working to create the world in which we want our children to live. Support Self Medication | Harm Reduction RV: Hi Lindsey, thank you so much for joining us again for the second part of this series! As we begin our discus- sion on harm reduction, can you first explain the culture of substance abuse in the LGBTQ+ community? Lindsey: When people are made to feel as though there is something wrong with them, and not accepted, they can react in a variety of ways. Some withdraw inside while others have a tendency t