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Challenges young LGBTQIA+ individuals face
In the next video, we’ll discuss some of the risks and challenges faced by young LGBTQIA+ people and the importance of providing a safe space for them to talk about their experiences.
Mali: Understanding the life and background of the young person can make it clearer how to help them. For example, in some cases, a young person may not feel safe disclosing to some of their community that they identify as LGBTQIA+ as they might face strong disapproval due to religious beliefs or culture.
Chris: There can be the threat of being made to leave home due to homophobia or transphobia. There is the risk that people may act differently towards you, but this is less of a worry if the person listening is an ally.
Jenny: While many young people have a positive experience of talking about their identity, they can sometimes feel pressure of coming out when they are not ready or in unsafe environments. People who aren’t out struggle to find places where they can be themselves because of fear of bullying or being dismissed. They may not feel it’s possible and this can add to how much they want to confide in you.
Mali: Being a teenager was difficult, and being queer definitely made it harder for me. It was incredibly confusing and distressing not having the language or knowledge to make sense of my gender and sexual identity. I knew I didn’t feel like either a girl or a boy but I didn’t know at the time that being non-binary was even a thing, and I already had a lot of internalised homophobia from my peers so was reluctant to accept my sexuality too. This left me with very little sense of self identity or worth. Being listened to and talking this through with people I feel understand me is a part of validating how I feel.
Twyla: Being queer can add to the pressures we face every day. We may have experienced bullying, harassment and abuse. We might be worried about the future, whether we’ll be in a relationship and how the people around us would react to that. Fear of our gender being assumed or misunderstood is called being misgendered and this can make us really uncomfortable. We may have had arguments with our family about sexuality, or feel under pressure because we support other friends in the community but have a lot going on ourselves.
Chris: We hope this has been useful in understanding the perspectives of young LGBTQIA+ people. In the following videos we are going to give you Top Tips, discuss Barriers to Access and explore ‘What we need people supporting us in a crisis situation to know’. These things can really impact our experience and what happens after our meeting with you.
Twyla: Finally, before you go, you may have seen the Pride Flag already throughout this learning guide. Displaying the Pride Flag, wearing a Pride Lanyard round your neck, or wearing a Pride pin is an easy way to show awareness and allyship. A young person told us that they feel that it would be helpful if there was more visibility that LGBTQIA+ is recognised.
Jenny: If you have any questions then please have a look at the resources we provide. You may have seen the other information on the Crisis Tools website and we recommend you also check them out. They are all on the dashboard under Guides and Resources.
Understanding our life and background as young LGBTQIA+ people can help you provide better support. We may face challenges such as disapproval from our community, religious beliefs, or the risk of homelessness due to homophobia or transphobia. Providing a safe and inclusive space for us to talk about our identity and experiences is crucial.
Being true to ourselves can be difficult, and additional pressures from being LGBTQIA+ can make it even harder. We might experience bullying, harassment, fear of being misunderstood or misgendered, or feel overwhelmed by supporting others in the community. Displaying the Pride Flag, wearing a Pride lanyard, or a Pride pin can signal your allyship and make us feel more comfortable opening up.
Active listening and compassion are vital when we share our experiences with you. Don’t pressure us to discuss more than we’re comfortable with, and consider expanding your knowledge about the LGBTQIA+ community to better understand and support us.
Here are some resources to help you learn more about the challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ young people and how to provide support:
- Papyrus UK – Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
- Anna Freud – LGBTQI+ Mental Health
- Gendered Intelligence – A Guide for Parents and Family Members of Trans People in the UK
- The Kite Trust – LGBTQ Youth and Mental Health in Cambridgeshire & Peterborough
Remember, these challenges can also hinder our access to appropriate support. We’ll explore this further in the ‘Barriers to Access’ learning guide.
- “Queer” used to be used as a slur against the LGBTQIA+ community but many people have reclaimed it and now use it in place of the abbreviation. However, we understand that this term might still be considered offensive. It is important to check with us that we are comfortable using that term.
- Understanding and accepting that not everyone’s the same can help to avoid discrimination. It allows space for us to feel seen and heard.
- We may be at different stages of accepting who we are and we need to be able to trust you. Being collaborative as we talk helps this.
- It’s important to acknowledge that, just because we identify as LGBTQIA+, it does not automatically mean we will have poor mental health- or that our crisis is due to our identity.