We remain deeply saddened, angry, scared and horrified about the horrible events that unfolded last Saturday night on Latin night at Pulse, an LGBTQ club in Orlando which took 49 lives, injured over 50 others and have left millions of us hurting. So do many young people.
Here are some ways you can support the LGBTQ young people in your family who are or may be struggling right now.
If you're caring for a young person, then the question of when and how to have "the talk" with them has likely crossed your mind. It's generally understood to be one of the more dreaded moments of raising a young person, because it's awkward for everyone involved and seems like an awful lot to have to do all at once.
But it doesn't have to be an awkward, embarrassing, weird metaphors about birds and bees filled discussion. And it not only doesn't have to be all at once, it shouldn't be.
You've probably seen all kinds of adults writing about teens and sex. Some of that writing is well-researched and thoughtful. Some -- most, sadly -- is hysterical and full of fearmongering and shoddy (or no) research. I was lucky enough to interview an author who belongs solidly in the first category.
For two years, I worked in a bookstore that was aimed primarily at children and teenagers. It was a job I quite enjoyed, but I quickly discovered that when you work near books, people always want to tell you their opinions on said books. That's fine most of the time. But I noticed a pattern when parents or adults would refer to The Hunger Games series. They would express dismay over a child wanting to read the book, wondering what they saw in it, and either implicitly or explicitly stating that they thought the book was not good for youth to be reading.
What struck me about these conversations was that ninety-nine percent of the time, the adult in question had not even read the book they were criticizing. They dismissed it, either as inappropriate trash or as mindless fiction without ever actually seeing what it had to say.
Hello I'm 13 and don't plan on having sex but my mother says that when I'm 16-18 she is going to get me checked to see if I'm still a virgin because I'm religious and we believe in no sex till marriage. Even though I don't plan on having sex, does masturbation affect the test the doctors going to take? And how do they take this test?...
Messages parents or guardians have given our users about gender come up frequently, and often problematically. As feminists and queer activists, we address gender stereotyping often in our content and conversations around women and gender nonconforming people of many stripes (or polka dots, whichever one prefers), and we know the weight of it all too well. But gender stereotyping is not just everybody’s problem, it’s a problem for everybody, and that includes for men, and the problems, for everybody, many gender stereotypes about men create.
Quite a few young people have come to us with this scenario: a parent has told their child that they are open to talking about contraception. But when the young people bring this up with us, they sometimes say that even though that invitation was extended, they don't feel comfortable picking it up and asking for that help, or can't figure out how.
I absolutely see what I am sure are usually the best of intentions with this invitation. But I'd like to suggest an alternative that will probably work better.