Being a teenager is difficult enough, but if you’re lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex or asexual (LGBTQIA), it’s even harder. LGBTQIA teens often struggle with their identity and sexuality. Sometimes it is difficult to find a place where you feel like you belong and where you can be yourself. Many LGBTQ youths are happy and thrive in their youth, because societal views have been changing over time. However there are still LGBTQ youths who experience negativity from their peers:
- LGBTQ youths are more likely to be victims of violence than their heterosexual counterparts.
- In a survey conducted by the CDC where they interviewed 7, 000 LGBTQ students, it was found that 8 out of 10 LGBTQ youths were verbally harassed at school, 4 out of 10 of these youths were physically harassed at school, 6 out of 10 felt unsafe at school, and 1 out of 5 of them were physically assaulted at school.
- LGBTQ youth were more likely than heterosexual youth to report high levels of bullying and substance use.
- Students who were questioning their sexual orientation reported more bullying, homophobic victimization, unexcused absences from school, drug use, feelings of depression, and suicidal behaviors than either heterosexual or LGBTQ students.
- LGBTQ students who did not experience homophobic teasing reported the lowest levels of depression and suicidal feelings of all student groups (heterosexual, LGB, and questioning students).
- All students, regardless of sexual orientation, reported the lowest levels of depression, suicidal feelings, alcohol and marijuana use, and unexcused absences from school when they were in a positive school climate and not experiencing homophobic teasing.
If you are LGBTQIA and you are struggling or just want to speak to other LGBTQIA youth, remember that you have a place to go. You are not alone. There are people out there who want to help. Scroll down for a list of resources that you may find helpful.
Coming out as teen is a very difficult decision to make. When you are a teenager, you are struggling with your identity and self-esteem, which can make coming out hard. Only you can know when you’re ready. Whether you’re getting ready to come out or still trying to figure things out, there are resources to help you along the way–check out a few of them below.
- Pride Center San Antonio* Located at 147 E. Mistletoe Ave., this aims to be the premier resource center for LGBTQ people in San Antonio. Come here to get information about local organizations and resources. For details, visit PrideCenterSA.org.
- Fiesta Youth* A youth-led social/support group for San Antonio LGBTQ teens. Meets every Tuesday. For details, visit Fiesta-Youth.org.
- Parents and Friends of Lesbians & Gays (PFLAG)* The San Antonio chapter of this national nonprofit hosts a monthly meeting at 7 p.m., the first Thursday of each month. For information and details, visit PFLAG-SanAntonio.org.
- Metropolitan Community Church* In addition to regular services, this LGBT-friendly church hosts a number of community events throughout the year. For more info, visit www.mccsa.org.
- Human Rights Campaign* The largest LGBT civil rights group in the country. The San Antonio chapter aims to execute the HRC’s mission locally. For more information, visit HRC.org.
- GLBT National Youth Talkline Free and confidential support services by phone, online chat or e-mail. Call 800-246-PRIDE (7743), 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. EST, Monday to Friday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. EST, Saturday, or visit www.GLNH.org/TalkLine for more information.
- The Trevor Project Offers a number of support services for LGBTQ youth, including a free 24/7 lifeline. Call 866-488-7386. Other services include a text help line and online chat. For more information, visit TheTrevorProject.org.
- The Asexual Visibility & Education Network (AVEN) The largest organization for asexual awareness/resources. Learn more about asexuality and find resources at Asexuality.org.
- Gay-Straight Alliance Network The Gay-Straight Alliance Network aims to help LGBTQIA students build and strengthen gay-straight alliance groups in their schools. For details, visit GSANetwork.org.
- It Gets Better Project This organization aims to inspire LGBTQ youth. If you’re feeling down, check out some of their videos at ItGetsBetter.org.
- Just Left the Closet A social network for LGBT youth, in the style of Pinterest and Tumblr. Visit JustLeftTheCloset.com to check it out.