When the Village is Unsafe

After surveying more than 12,000 LGBTQ teenagers across the nation, the Human Rights Campaign released its sobering 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report. The large-scale report reveals the grave and traumatic realities that so many of our youth struggle to overcome as they go about their daily lives. The report is so exhaustive that we are dissecting it into a series of posts while offering ways to address these statistics over time.


THEY SAY IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE A CHILD, BUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE VILLAGE IS UNSAFE AND NON-AFFIRMING?


The study found that

  • Only 24% of LGBTQ youth said they can “definitely” be themselves as an LGBTQ person at home.

  • Only 25% of LGBTQ youth have families who show support for them by getting involved in the larger LGBTQ and ally community.

  • 48% of LGBTQ youth who are out to their parents say that their families make them feel bad for being LGBTQ.

  • 67% of LGBTQ youth hear their families make negative comments about LGBTQ people, and LGBTQ youth of color report hearing family express negativity about LGBTQ people more frequently than their white peers.

  • Conditions tend to be far worse for trans youth. In fact, they are over 2x more likely to be taunted or mocked by family for their LGBTQ identity when compared to cisgender LGBQ youth.


After reviewing this data, we can no longer wonder why our youth feel that if their parents found out they were gay, they would be disowned and kicked out of their homes. And let’s face it, that has been the reality of far too many of us, even some of our own fraternity brothers.


As advocates, we can’t force our way into homes to protect our youth. However, what we can do is begin to offer more programming around affirming and safe spaces for all parents (not just those with openly LGBTQ-identifying children). We have had the parents of some of our own members get involved in events, planning, and social media platforms. Let’s be daring enough to engage parents and provide them with resources to make their homes safe and affirming spaces.

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