LGBT+ Youth – The History and Struggles They Experience

The+GSA+club+sold+LGBT%2B+pins+to+fund+raise+for+the+community.+The+club+always+keeps+struggling+members+of+the+community+in+mind.

Emily Dugan

The GSA club sold LGBT+ pins to fund raise for the community. The club always keeps struggling members of the community in mind.

Emily Dugan, Staff

Nowadays, people have become more open and accepting of the LGBT+ community. More people are starting to become comfortable with themselves, and more people are willing to understand it. However, the LGBT+ community still struggles to be heard and faces challenges at every turn.

The amount of LGBT+ youth has increased over time. It’s not because it’s becoming more common, but because it’s more acceptable to be open about it. For over 350 years, the LGBT+ community was forced to hide their identities because they were considered to be violating laws, were being attacked violently, or were killed because of who they were. LGBT+ people were heavily discriminated against purely for existing.

How has this changed over time? As of June 2015, all 50 states have legalized same-sex marriage. The Gay Rights Movement began in 1969. It took 51 years for all states to legalize same-sex marriage, and even now, there is still a lot of discrimination against the LGBT+ community. With conversion therapy and constant threats, the community faces a lot of obstacles. “I’m tired of the stereotypes,” Senior Maria Pedroso states, confirming she has experienced discrimination. “I was never one to compartmentalize myself with a certain label, but because people in this world are so set in giving other people titles, I struggle so much with having to express the fact that I don’t want a title to validate who I’m supposed to love and who I’m not supposed to.”

So how is this relevant? The history of the LGBT+ community is often forgotten or ignored. LGBT+ youth often face struggles that other people do not understand. Even though the United States has made progress, there still is a long way to go. Teenagers and children are being disowned and abused because of their sexual orientation. Between 11 and 40 percent of homeless people are LGBT+, and the suicides of LGBT+ people are responsible for 1.6 percent of all deaths in the United States. LGBT+ people are also very high targets for human trafficking because of the high homelessness rates.

Emily Dugan
The GSA club sold LGBT+ pins to fund raise for the community. The club always keeps struggling members of the community in mind.

The LGBT+ community does not have to face these struggles alone. Students at University Preparatory have access to a school therapist and have a GSA Club to provide support. The GSA club at U.P. meets every Tuesday at B Lunch, and they provide an open space to express emotions and to be able to be themselves completely without fear. Pedroso, who is the GSA Vice President, wants people outside of the club to know what GSA is all about. “It’s amazing to be a part of a community that accepts people as a whole and for who they truly are because that’s what I think brought the members of our club together.”

Along with the school resources, online resources such as the Family Assistance Program offers free and confidential 24-hour hotlines. These include Domestic Violence, Homeless/Runaway Youth, and Anti-Human Trafficking hotlines.

Even though 2020 has brought progress and improvement, there is still a large portion of the LGBT+ community that experiences unending struggles. By providing accessible support, the community will hopefully begin to experience less negativity and begin to be more accepted by society and accepting of themselves.