A 90-Minute Workshop That Saves Young LGBTQ+ Lives
COVID-19 has had a profound impact on mental health in the United States. Although the last year has been a shared trauma, the data shows that these times have been especially detrimental for young adults.
According to the CDC, young adults experienced an almost 15% increase in suicidal ideation during 2020.
The data and events of the last year have made it clear that it’s more important than ever to equip our youth with suicide prevention tactics and skills to intervene when it’s needed most. While suicide lifelines are helpful, people are more likely to reach out to their peers before they ask a stranger for help.
As part of our mission to reduce the rate of suicide in the LGBTQ+ community, the Pride and Joy Foundation regularly holds Ask. Listen. Plan. (ALP) workshops for college-aged individuals. These workshops are geared toward all young adults and provide tools, resources, and tactics...
What Do You Mean You Don’t Believe in Gender?
If you’ve visited my website you may have noticed that I am a transgender man who doesn’t believe in gender. How can I say that I am a transgender man and at the same time have the opinion that gender isn’t a real thing? Hmmm, that’s an excellent question and perhaps by the end of this post, I will have clarification not only for you but for myself.
You see the thing is, I have this knowing and it is strong and undeniable. I am a man. But what does that even mean? I think for me it means that I know without a shadow of a doubt that I should have been born with a penis. I wasn’t though, which is why I am transgender. Because I was born without a penis, the doctors took a look at me and said “it’s a girl”. Imagine making such a ridiculous mistake. Of course, it wasn’t ridiculous on the part of the doctor because our society says no penis=girl and penis=boy.
We all have a basic...
Alex is 14, and six months ago, they told their parents that they are bisexual and non-binary. Alex came out in the greatest way, setting up a scavenger hunt for their parents, which ended in their closet (of course) where the bisexual pride flag was hanging. Alex’s parents were so happy that they felt confident enough to come out, and especially that Alex was trusting them with this vulnerable information. Alex’s parents gave them a huge hug and said “we love you no matter what.”
But now it’s six months later. Alex and their parents haven’t spoken about it much since. Alex feels awkward bringing it up again, but they’re really not sure who else to talk with about what they’re experiencing. They’ve asked their teachers to use they/them pronouns and some were good about it. They got a lecture from their English teacher and that didn’t feel great. But Alex wasn’t sure their parents would want to hear about...
COVID has taken my 46-year-old nephew, the father of two boys, husband to his college sweetheart. Being there for my sister, who already lost one son to a motorcycle accident, would be my desire, but I have become infamous in my large family by being absent from family funerals.
This is not because I do not care and have no love for them in a family way, but my family is part of an evangelical church in the Bible Belt. They made it clear 32 years ago when I “came out”, that since I was not going to be joining them in heaven there wasn’t much need to expend energy including me or my husband in family gatherings here on earth. And it was clear we were not welcome. Never openly rude but excluded when we were there by a wall of silence and judgmental indifference.
Today I have the grief of an Uncle who celebrated this nephew’s birth “before I was gay.” In my 20’s and 30’s I was a hero to my...
None of us were prepared for 2020. I don’t need to tell you that, I also don’t need to point out that a lot of us are feeling anxiety about what 2021 might bring. There is a concrete way to feel like you’re in control though. And for many of us, that’s the biggest thing we need right now.
You CAN become an inclusive leader so that no matter what social upheaval comes our way in 2021, you’ll be the person to lead the team through the experience. Any moments of sticky conversations and discomfort can be anticipated with excitement because they are opportunities for you to be the leader your organization needs.
Remember when Alexander Hamilton wished for a war? So he “could prove that he’s worth more than anyone bargained for”? (you sang that in your head, admit it) If you’re an organizational leader, excited to prove your worth and make an impact, social upheaval is...
Pronouns: what they reveal about your leadership
Pronouns are an outright indication of how a person needs to be addressed and referred to. They are most typically he/him, she/her, and they/them although there are a few variations.
The closest thing we can compare this to is if you worked your tail off to earn your Ph.D. or other doctorates, and your co-workers and management keep referring to you as Mrs. Smith instead of Dr. Smith. It’s just disrespectful and rude. And like all rude behavior, it says something about who you are when you engage in it.
Therefore it really says something about a company when we look at how they engage with Pronouns. In fact, in the three levels of engagement, we see a distinct correlation between Pronoun usage and overall inclusivity.
Level One is based on Ignorance and its root word, Ignore. It is easy for us to ignore what we are ignorant of. However, our...
Last March when the world turned upside down, two couples sat down and made a plan. Kristen and I sat on our front porch with my ex-husband Chad and his awesome new wife, T. Chad and I share custody of our four kids, T has another four, and they had a bonus child at the time as well. So when a global pandemic hit, we had nine kids (and their germs) to worry about.
We sat on that porch (socially distanced) and had an amazing conversation. We talked, and vented, and laughed, and ultimately came up with what we thought was a great plan. We discussed each kid, how we could support them during homeschooling, how we’d keep them off screens, how we’d now have the time to introduce them to all kinds of new skills.
Ahhhh, remember optimism? JK.
We just had no idea. We had no clue the mental toll this pandemic was going to take from us. There was no way we could have predicted how physical lives became...
"Half a decade after the repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell, most LGBT service members still felt reluctant to be open about their sexuality with their colleagues and chain of command, according to a study released in late May.
The study, published by the journal Sexuality Research and Social Policy, found that 59% of respondents did not feel comfortable being out at work, either because of career repercussions or because of the burden of being a token responsible for educating their peers.
“Taken together, LGBT service members seek a military in which disclosure will not subject them to negative career repercussions, burden them with feelings of differentness or expectations to teach others how to treat them, limit their ability to access needed resources for themselves or their family, and, ultimately, that their physical and personal integrity will not be endangered,” the authors, both military and academic researchers, found." --- Excerpt from an article in...
The LGBTQ community is having a collective realization and it involves you.
My daughter and I were driving in the car when the Dixie Chick's song Gaslighter came on. She asked what it meant and I explained that gaslighting is what happens when someone hurts you, but when you call them on it, they refuse to apologize.
Instead, they say things like "You're being really sensitive!" or "You took it that way, that's not my fault. I wasn't intending to be hurtful." Or the BEST is "I never said that. I think you're imagining that."
Overall, gaslighting creates a sense of confusion, of not being able to trust your gut or the validity of what people say and mean. If you notice your LGBTQ co-workers, family, and friends, looking at you a little strangely, there's a reason.
We're having a collective moment of realizing that while 80% of our nation says they support us, 50+% voted the opposite of that. Their words and their actions are not adding up.
So we're questioning everyone...
Suicide helplines are awesome. They’re also the last line of defense we have at preventing suicide for ourselves and our loved ones. There is SO much we can do before we reach the point that we need to ask for help from strangers at the end of a telephone line or in a hospital.
As someone who was in that pit and who has made it her mission to reduce the rate of suicide in the LGBTQ community, this is a daily part of my life. I know it sounds heavy-handed to say that a suburban mom practices suicide prevention every day but there it is. I participated in a “therapy” that has a 57% suicide rate. Many therapists have let me know that “I’m only a survivor until I’m a statistic” and for the rest of my life, I need to keep my mental health a priority.
Add to that the fact that I am a part of, and professionally work with, the LGBTQ population, a marginalized population that has one of the HIGHEST suicide rates,...