Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Are you an openly gay adult?

Are you an openly gay adult? Do you have a career, a family, good friends? I want to know, how did you get it?

So many gay LGBTI youth can’t imagine their lives as openly gay adults. They just can’t envision a time when they are in a career they enjoy. They don’t believe they will ever experience friends and family who accept them as they are. They can’t imagine a future for themselves.

How did you ensure you had a future? How did you do it?

Did you know that gay and lesbian youth are 2 to 3 times more likely to attempt suicide then heterosexual youth? Are you aware that 50% of lesbian and gay youth report parental rejection due to their sexual orientation? Did you know that 80% of LGBTI youth report severe emotional and social isolation? That they experience a depression that is 4-5 times more severe then their heterosexual peers?

Tell me, you - who got the job you wanted, a job you love, how did you do it? How did you get to that place where I want to be? Were you that one in four LGBTI youths that became homeless once they came out? Did you experience isolation, depression or anxiety? Did you have family who was ashamed of you, friends who were embarrassed by you? How did you GET to that point, where you are right now? How did you do it?

Did you have someone to give you support, was there anyone who made you believe you could get to the point you are now at? Did anyone give you hope? Was there someone in your orbit that made you realise that a future was actually possible?

The Pinnacle Foundation gave me my hope. They gave me the first glimpse of my future I had seen in a very long time. They know that not having a visible LGBTI role model can severely increase feelings of isolation and emotional distress in young LGBTI people. They know that sometimes we need to see a real life example of how it gets better. Bob Paris once said:

Every gay and lesbian person who has been lucky enough to survive the turmoil of growing up is a survivor. Survivors always have an obligation to those who will face the same challenges.” You might not think you’d make much of a mentor. But if you an openly gay adult, who has a family who loves them, good friends and a job - you can help some one just by doing what you do already. Just placing yourself in the orbit of a young LGBTI can go a long way. You are a living example of how it really does get better, so please - contact Pinnacle to become a mentor. I guarantee that you will brighten someone’s future.

By Ashleigh Scriven

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