June is Pride Month, a time that recognizes and celebrates the historical movement for LGBTQ+ visibility and civil rights. (LGBTQ+ stands for “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, and Others”.) We commemorate this month, because it was on June 28, 1969 that the patrons of the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village, New York, resisted the police officers who arrived in the early morning hours to conduct a vice raid. Over the next few days, clashes continued between law enforcement and LGBTQ+ protesters. These events catalyzed the LGBTQ+ movement for civil rights. Since June 1970, they have been commemorated with celebrations and parades. Pride Month was federally recognized in 1999.
Everywhere you look during Pride Month, companies are cloaking their products in rainbow flags and offering their support for the LGBTQ+ community. But what does this support actually mean? What should support look like? I recently read The Trevor Project’s National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, and I was alarmed by many of its conclusions. According to the survey:
- 42 percent of LGBTQ+ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and non-binary youth.
- 48 percent of LGBTQ+ youth reported they wanted counseling from a mental health professional but were unable to receive it in the past year.
- Transgender and non-binary youth who reported having pronouns respected by all of the people they lived with attempted suicide at half the rate of those who did not have their pronouns respected by anyone with whom they lived.
These statistics are startling, but they also provide room for hope. Using someone’s preferred pronouns is suicide prevention. LGBTQ+ youth want counseling, but aren’t getting it. These are problems that we at Chestnut can help alleviate. There are ways we can offer real, meaningful support for our LGBTQ+ coworkers, clients, patients, family, and friends.
We’ll start by offering Safe Zone Training for Chestnut employees between June 23 and June 29. Safe Zone Training answers fundamental questions about sexual identity and gender identity and helps us learn how to compassionately engage with individuals of diverse gender identities, sexual identities, and gender expressions. These sessions will be live via Zoom, and group sizes will be limited. All are welcome!
We’ve also put together a number of resources for learning more about LGBTQ+ health issues.
Finally, Pride Month is a time of celebration! Chestnut will attend PrideFest in Bloomington on June 26 and we’ll attend Metro East Pride in October.