Join us as Jeff Adams goes Outside the Margins.
I’m honored that Brandilyn invited me to join the authors who contribute to Outside the Margins. I’ll do my best to bring you something interesting each month. Please leave comments and I’ll definitely check in to see what you’re discussing and post back as well.
Today, on this holiday, I’m on the serious side.
About a month ago, I attended the second annual State of Out Youth panel discussion, which is sponsored by the True Colors Fund, Trevor Project, Human Rights Campaign Foundation, GLSEN and Lambda Legal. I attended via the web this time, but in 2013 I attended live in New York. It’s an fascinating discussion that focuses on the issues LGBT youth are facing today. What makes this particular program so interesting is that the panelists are all youth with diverse backgrounds and stories. The event’s been on my mind a lot recently since it put some hard numbers to what’s happening to this segment of society. Of course we all want things to get better, but this showed there’s still a lot left to do. Here are a few of the stats that kicked off the program:
- Over 90 percent of LGBT youth have been verbally harassed or assaulted in school.
- Up to 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT (meanwhile, only 7 percent of the general youth population identifies as LGBT).
- Family rejection is the most frequently cited reason for LGBT youth homelessness
- Thirty-three percent of LGBT youth say their family is not accepting of LGBT people.
- When LGBT youth were asked “What is the most difficult problem facing you in your life these days?” the top three answers were: My parents/family are not accepting, trouble at school/bullying, afraid to be out/open.
- Six in 10 LGBT students expressed feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation.
- Nearly half of LGBT youth say they do not “fit in” in their community while only 16 percent of non-LGBT youth feel that way.
We’ve made a lot of progress for equality over the past few years. While marriage equality is in the news a lot, you don’t hear about youth issues nearly as much. That leaves the youth in a “out of sight, out of mind” state.
My Thanksgiving wish is that each person that reads finds a way to give support to LGBT youth. If you know an LGBT youth, make sure they know you’re their ally and available for support if they need you. If you’re active with a school as a parent, teacher or staff member, do what you can to make sure the school is a safe place for LGBT students. If you work with youth sports leagues or groups, make sure those are safe too. You don’t have to be the parent of an LGBT young person, or even know one, to make a stand for their safety and well being in your local community.
Of course, if you don’t feel you can take direct action, consider donating to one of the organizations across the country that work to support these young people. I encourage to head over to stateofoutyouth.org and watch the archived program. What the young people on the panel say his quite thought provoking. You’ll also find links to organizations that you can support, either through volunteering or financial contribution.
I hope you and yours have (or had, depending on when you read this,) a wonderful Thanksgiving!
~ Jeff Adams
About Jeff Adams
Jeff Adams is the author of the Hat Trick series of young adult/new adult stories. The latest novel in the series, Hat Trick 2: Playing the Rebound published in July 2014. A new short story installment, Hat Trick Overtime: Summer Camp, publishes in January 2015. He’s currently working on the third, and final, novel of the series. He’s also the author of several m/m romance shorts, including Rivals, which publishes on December 7. Jeff and his husband, Will, live in the rural peace of Northern California. Besides writing about hockey in his books, he covers the Detroit Red Wings, and reviews books that feature gay hockey players, for PuckBuddys.com. You can learn more about Jeff’s writing at jeffadamswrites.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @hockeyguynyc.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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