Will The Kids Still Be Alright?

As much as I do not want to talk about politicians like DeSantis, Abbott, Lee, or Cox, I cannot stay silent about the effects that these shitheads are having on the mental health of young people and adults all across America.

Let’s start with some statistics. But, even before I hit you with numbers, I’ll start here.

If you or someone you know is LGBTQIA+ and in need of assistance, please reach out to groups like these:

The Trevor Project (counseling and support for LGBTQIA+ youth): https://www.thetrevorproject.org/

Lucie’s Place (Central Arkansas transitional living for LGBTQIA+ young adults): https://www.luciesplace.org/transitional-living-program-tlp.html

The Ali Forney Center (NYC support for homeless LGBTQIA+ youths): https://www.aliforneycenter.org/

National Coalition for the Homeless: https://nationalhomeless.org

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: https://988lifeline.org/

RAINN (anti-sexual violence for rape, abuse, and incest survivors): https://www.rainn.org/

SAGE (advocacy and services for LGBTQIA+ elders): https://www.sageusa.org/

And, if you’re an ally of the LGBTQIA+ community, organizations like these or local ones in your community can always use more volunteers, donors, and advocates. Please reach out locally and be a helping hand if you can.

Now then, time for those statistics.

According to the Williams Institute, 40% of the young people accessing homeless services identified as LGBTQIA+. These kids most often ended up on the streets because their families rejected them, according the the National Coalition for the Homeless.

According to The Trevor Project, 45% of LGBTQIA+ youth seriously consider suicide in the United States. At least one queer kid attempts suicide every 45 seconds. In the time it likely took you to read these sentences, some kid attempted to end their life.

Of the LGBTQIA+ youth considering suicide each year, 45% are transgender or nonbinary youth. And, LGBTQIA+ youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers.

In states like Texas, Florida, Tennessee, and Utah, bills are being proposed, passed, and signed into law that directly attack LGBTQIA+ young people. These new laws ban drag performances or drag queen story hours, prevent teachers from having grade-appropriate books featuring LGBTQIA+ characters, and ban gender-affirming health care for transgender youth.

Republicans like to tout themselves as “protectors of life” for their anti-abortion stance. Really, they’re not about protecting life. They’re about controlling people.

If protecting life was actually something these fuckwads cared about, they wouldn’t make life harder for single parents, LGBTQIA+ youth, or families struggling with poverty. And, they would be opposed to the death penalty as cruel and unusual. They’d give away their massive fortunes to local food banks and be on the front lines of crisis hotlines trying to help their fellow human beings.

Instead, they disguise their bigotry, their fear, and their fascist tendencies in a cloak of hyper-religiosity that tarnishes anyone who claims to be a Christian. I know genuinely good people who won’t actually claim being Christian—even though they are—because of the baggage that shitheads like Franklin Graham and these politicians have hung on that word.

I know these assholes and their hypocrisy first-hand. I was raised in an immediate family that marched in lockstep with the worst of the rightwing nuts like Swaggart, Schlafly, Buchanan.

I remember being in junior high and just starting to realize that maybe I was queer in a different way than just being the “weird girl” at school. I overheard my maternal grandfather and my mother talking about the AIDS crisis and whether Ryan White should be allowed back in his school.

My grandfather, a World War II veteran, commented that, “We should put all these faggots on an island and nuke it. That will solve this AIDS thing.”

This was the same man who disowned my sister for a few years because she’d gotten pregnant without being married to the baby’s father.

Yet, he’s the same man who went to church every Sunday, tithed regularly, and was asked to be a deacon of his church. Everyone who knew him respected him and asked his advice and opinions on a wide range of topics.

DeSantis, Lee, Cox, and Abbott are just the latest iteration of bigoted assholes who think they’re the only ones who are right. But, their fear, their bigotry, and their higher political ambitions are going to hurt more young people and destroy more families.

If you can reach out to LGBTQIA+ groups in your area, please do so. And, if you can, please also do some work with groups like SAGE. With so many states going after the LGBTQIA+ youth, those of us who are elders in the community know we’re also in the crosshairs.

Already, many of the states where bills attacking gender-affirming health care or banning LGBTQIA+ books in schools have been introduced are also seeing bills introduced that would ban same-sex marriage and roll back job protections for LGBTQIA+ employees.

Photo by Megan Bucknall on Unsplash

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