Written by: Katrina Clark, Youth Educator
Note: This post was originally written for #WeeklyWisdom, a collaboration with the Community Coalition for Healthy Youth in Tompkins County.
For youth to be truly healthy, we need to consider their well-being in a holistic way. This means acknowledging and celebrating their multidimensional nature; as well as ensuring a sustained ability to access supportive services.
Youth and adults alike have various intersecting identities, experiences, and areas of interest. We de-dimensionalize youth by failing to accept these complexities.
To be seen and supported for one’s greater sense of self fosters a feeling of worthiness, which is both a necessity for – and further catalyst of – holistic wellbeing. This means that all of one’s identities are honored, not just a select few.
One effort to honor marginalized identities comes in the form of Pride Month. Each June, there is a dedicated celebration of LGBTQ communities across the United States. The associated events and energies of Pride Month counter the oppressive institutions and individuals that have historically shamed (and continue to disenfranchise) their non-heterosexual, non-cisgender neighbors.
This June, a recent supreme court ruling has made it illegal to fire anyone for being gay or transgender. While there is still much more work to be done as it relates to preventing discrimination of LGBTQ individuals – especially for those that hold multiple marginalized identities – this ruling is a significant step forward.
Employed LGBTQ youth also benefit from this protection in the workplace. As legal protections, support services, and access to information increase, vulnerabilities are reduced. This ultimately facilitates the mobility to make healthier decisions.
So, as we continue to celebrate Pride Month – and beyond – let us keep in mind the following: the more we (systemically, socially, and individually) shift towards honoring all marginalized identities and the inherent multidimensionality of being human, the more we will contribute to the well-being of youth.
Related Resources & Reads
The Trevor Project provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning young people under 25
Supporting Black LGBTQ Youth Mental Health a recent blog from the Trevor Project addressing common feelings expressed by black LGBTQ youth at this time, as well as self-care and support options
Trans Lifeline a grassroots hotline and microgrants 501(c)(3) non-profit organization offering direct emotional and financial support to trans people in crisis – for the trans community, by the trans community
Planned Parenthood local sexual and reproductive health center which supports and welcomes all people regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or biological sex (including but not limited to lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, questioning, and intersex clients); also provides a weekly support group for LGBTQ teens
Teen Experiences with Workplace Sexual Harassment blog from Workplaces Respond to Domestic & Sexual Violence. Teens with workplace sexual harassment questions can contact the Tompkins County Workers’ Center and Workforce NY
If you or a teen you know is struggling with trauma after experiences of sexual or relationship abuse, the Advocacy Center offers free, confidential, and/or anonymous emotional and advocacy support including assistance with local services, safe housing, and safety planning. Advocates can be reached 24 hours a day through the hotline at 607-277-5000.