Pride Fest – A Time to Reflect and Heal

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 June is a Month to Reflect

June is a month of celebration, memories, pain, and liberation for the queer community. This year marked the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, an event that acted as a catalyst for what we could consider the modern LGBT movement. That evening at Stonewall 50 years ago, the queer community rushed to the entrance of the bar to support those actively being taken by the police.  Women including Storme DeLarverie and trans women such as Marsha P. Johnson (Sage, 2019) protested the right to be themselves. They weren’t the first individuals to stand up for themselves, and Stonewall wasn’t the first public protest, but they and others in the LGBTQ community took a stand that evening and days moving forward. In the face of ongoing homophobia and transphobia, the queer community today gather together during pride month and celebrate.

Pride Fest is not just a day of celebration – it is a day of remembrance – and it aims to bring to the forefront of our minds, one’s social consciousness regarding the everyday lives of LGBT+ and the ongoing challenges they sometimes face.  Life for LGBT+ individuals varies, but there is one certainty, the life challenges experienced by LGBT+ folks, must be taken seriously.

Pride Fest was never meant to be a commercialized affair for big shops to clearance rainbow adorned shirts the day after.

Regardless of personal biases and values, as counselors we are ethically expected to assist those who come through our door and support the most vulnerable populations, especially trans individuals. Here are some important statistics WE ALL  need to consider because they are directly tied to our future.

Death is a reality for too many.

Sadly, this year alone, 10 trans women of color were violently murdered because of their trans status. To perpetuate the erasure of trans folx, trans victims are often mis-gendered in newspapers and police reports. Knowing these facts ultimately strengthen our clinical and human understanding of the concerns and challenges often faced by trans folx and especially trans women of color.

Photo by Jorge Saavedra on Unsplash

Even now with our “progressive” social comfort, sexual and gender minorities are at a greater risk for violence by others and toward self.

Our Children Need More.

In a national study, 40% of transgender adults reported having made a suicide attempt. 92% of these individuals reported having attempted suicide before the age of 25. [3]

LGB youth who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGB peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection. [4]

1 out of 6 students nationwide (grades 9–12) seriously considered suicide in the past year. [5]

Each episode of LGBT victimization, such as physical or verbal harassment or abuse, increases the likelihood of self-harming behavior by 2.5 times on average. [6]

Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24. [1]

Counseling can help. Colorado made a tremendous move most recently by banning conversion therapy for minor clients. This is a WIN!

In light of this stark reality, it is important to act fast, listen intently, validate concerns, and get mental health assistance. No one should have to face the isms that plague the LGBT+ community, but we are here to help. Because we cannot control the actions of others, we can learn more about ourselves and the value of our beautiful lives. It is not the LGBT+ community who is at fault here, we have an issue of a moral disease that stops people and policies from believing

Counseling can be so incredibly cathartic and we aim to offer the support necessary for true healing to occur. For more information about Dr. Angie Schubert, go to www.brightsidecounseling.net, or check out her podcast, Let’s Get Uncomfortable with co-host Dr. Karena J. Heyward.

SOURCES:

[1] CDC, NCIPC. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online]. (2010) {2013 Aug. 1}.  Available from:www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars.

[2] CDC. (2016). Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Risk Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9-12: Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

[3] James, S. E., Herman, J. L., Rankin, S., Keisling, M., Mottet, L., & Anafi, M. (2016). The Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality.

[4] Family Acceptance Project™. (2009). Family rejection as a predictor of negative health outcomes in white and Latino lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adults. Pediatrics. 123(1), 346-52.

[5] CDC. (2016). Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Risk Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9-12: Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

[6] IMPACT. (2010). Mental health disorders, psychological distress, and suicidality in a diverse sample of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youths. American Journal of Public Health. 100(12), 2426-32.

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Brightside Counseling Services, LLC
edmonds@brightsidecounseling.net  |  303.353.9226
5650 Greenwood Plaza Blvd. Greenwood Village, CO 80111