A recent study by the American Psychological Association, cited by Forbes magazine, points out a slight decrease in suicide attempts among youth. The research indicates a possible link between the passing of hate crime laws protecting members of the LGBTQ community. The conclusions result from survey responses received from more than 697,000 students. While some may be unsure how necessary the creation of safe spaces truly is, studies have been conducted to verify their necessity. The results confirm that "lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals experience both conscious and unconscious microaggressions from heterosexuals. The research also confirms that microaggressions negatively impact an individual's mental health. Microaggressions against members of the LGBT are further explored in the informative video below. [i]
As societal norms continue to evolve, so does our community. While educators can continue to create safe spaces and allies for LGBT students, there are many ways everyone can help raise awareness and become an ally to LGBTQ youth. Things everyone can do include:
- Attend LGBTQ events to illustrate your support for the community.
- Take time to explore the history of the LGBTQ community.
- Support friends or relatives who choose to reveal their sexuality.
- Employees and students are encouraged to report any incidents of harassment or discrimination against a member of the LGBTQ community. Be sure to be an ally, rather than joining in the behavior.
Understanding the difficulties faced by members of the LGBTQ community can help individuals better understand the need for implementing other ways to be a good ally, as illustrated below.
This year, the city of Aliso Viejo highlights one of its fundamental values of inclusion by hosting a Pride Month Summer Mixer for guests ages 14 - 18 of all identities. On June 17th, from 4 - 6 pm, guests are invited to join the Wellness & Prevention Center in collaboration with the LGBTQ Center OC to celebrate pride month with food, games, and music.
The event will be held in the Wellness & Prevention Center at Aliso Niguel High School. An opportunity such as this allows young adults the chance to mingle with similarly-minded people. Classification as anything other than heterosexual has sometimes painful consequences. As a result, many researchers have delved into learning more about creating 'safe spaces,' which allow members of the LGBTQ community to feel welcomed and a part of a grander scheme. Registration for the event is free.
Additional resources and events to support the LGBTQ community are available in the Orange County and surrounding areas.
- Santa Ana public library card holders can sign into Kanopy to view Free Movies and Documentaries related to Pride Month. Those without a library card can get one today, by registering online!
- Santa Monica (SaMo) PRIDE's Made with PRIDE is happening in Downtown Santa Monica. SaMo PRIDE happens every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in June. The next 3-day weekend will be June 17, 18, and 19.
- Catalina Island has extended an invitation to the LGBTQ+ community, including allies, in Southern California to the annual Catalina Pride. The event is on Saturday, June 18, 2022 from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm at Wrigley Stage. Live entertainment in addition to a pride march are scheduled with afterparties beginning near sunset.
[i] Michael Sadowski, More Than a Safe Space: How Schools Can Enable LGBTQ Students to Thrive, American Educator, p. 4-10, (2016)