Opinion: The importance of acceptance

Awareness and education can lessen dangers facing the LGBTQ+ community

The+LGBTQ%2B+community+faces+immense+danger+due+to+the+general+lack+of+acceptance+from+society.+Thanks+to+this+lack+of+acceptance%2C+domestic+violence+and+suicide+rates+among+the+community+have+skyrocketed.+If+people+can+begin+to+educate+themselves+and+others%2C+and+public+figures+begin+to+use+their+platform+to+speak+out+about+the+issue%2C+then+acceptance+will+be+seen+as+something+more+attainable+rather+than+wishful+thinking.

William_Murph"Dublin LGBTQ Pride Festival 2012: 'Show your True Colours'" by infomatique is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0y

The LGBTQ+ community faces immense danger due to the general lack of acceptance from society. Thanks to this lack of acceptance, domestic violence and suicide rates among the community have skyrocketed. If people can begin to educate themselves and others, and public figures begin to use their platform to speak out about the issue, then acceptance will be seen as something more attainable rather than wishful thinking.

Content Warning: This story contains themes of domestic abuse, mental health, and suicide.

Acceptance sounds like a simple enough word — straightforward and easily attainable. It seems like something that should be a given, especially when it comes to parents and their children. 

The fact of the matter is, there is an alarming amount of parents that refuse to accept their children for who they are and how they identify. Parents who are willing to abuse and neglect their children based on who they love. Parents who are willing to send their children to conversion therapy in hopes of their child changing their mind. 

People spend so much time worrying about who identifies as what and who loves who instead of worrying about the extreme violence people inflict upon the community.”

— Op-Ed Editor Rachel Laposka

Here is the thing about conversion therapy — it is nothing more than an over-glorified detention center that abuses and brainwashes LGBTQ+ youth into thinking they are heterosexual. It has been proven that conversion therapy does not work, seeing as it is based around the idea of homosexuality as a mental illness, an idea that the American Psychiatric Association repealed only four years ago.

Conversion therapy is not the only “solution” parents drift toward when it comes to changing their child. Some parents resort to kicking out their kids, regardless of how prepared they are to live on their own. They would rather abandon their own child than accept the fact that they love someone of the same sex.

It has gotten to the point where LGBTQ+ youth are terrified to come out to their family because they fear their reactions. One study reports that LGBTQ+ youth that come out to their family are subject to more emotional and physical abuse than their cisgender heterosexual counters.

People spend so much time worrying about who identifies as what and who loves who instead of worrying about the extreme violence people inflict upon the community. Some of these people are so against it, they are willing to commit acts of violence against members of the community. It is stated that one in three members of the LGBTQ+ community has been subjected to physical threats and violence due to their sexual orientation. 

According to the Trevor Project, an organization working to protect the LGBTQ+ community, 40% of LGBTQ+ youth have seriously contemplated suicide in the last year. With that comes the 46% of LGBTQ+ youth that wishes to attend a form of therapy or emotional counseling

The lack of support facing the community can be traced back to a general lack of discussion about the community as a whole. 

The solution, much like the word acceptance, seems simple enough.”

— Op-Ed Editor Rachel Laposka

The United Kingdom rock band Trash Boat touches on the subject with their recent song “He’s So Good.” 

“He’s So Good” tells the story of a boy coming out as part of the LGBTQ+ community to his family. He then goes on to introduce his partner to his parents, his mother being kind and supportive while his father walks out on the family.

From there on out, his father remains distant until the boy’s mother dies. In the music video, it can be inferred that after this point, the boy endures physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his father. The abuse gets to the point where the boy considers taking his own life.

I wish I could say that abuse toward the LGBTQ+ community was a small percentage. The reality is, roughly 26% of the community faces domestic abuse in their home life. This percentage only gets higher as members of the community age.

This disdain and blatant homophobia toward LGBTQ+ people derives from the general lack of public knowledge surrounding the community. The solution, much like the word acceptance, seems simple enough.

People need to be educated about the hardships the LGBTQ+ community faces on a day-to-day basis. If schools start incorporating some LGBTQ+ history into their curriculum, and people maintain an open, supportive mind, then we will be able to tackle these horrendous statistics head-on. 

Outside of educating the public, if the media can manage to normalize LGBTQ+ culture, people may become more accepting. Take what Trash Boat did — the band used their strong platform to release a song about a pressing issue facing the world. 

You do not need to be a part of the community to see the dangers that the lack of acceptance brings forth. Until people educate themselves around the subject matter, acceptance will be nothing more than an insignificant dream.

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