+ Understanding the Alphabet Soup Helping LGBTQ Students Return to School After Suicide Attempts Suicide Prevention Conference, December 3, 2014 Michael Riquino, LCSW + This presentation is rated PG-13 For potential hilarity and inevitable irreverence including gay-themed jokes, political incorrectness, and the ability to not take itself too seriously. + Helping LGBTQ Students Return to School After Suicide Attempts Learning Objectives Step 1: Speak Their Language Step 2: Recognize the Impact of Rejection Step 3: Create Safe Spaces A Few Items of Business I talk really fast – no, I am not nervous Feel free to ask questions as they come to you – but write them down in case I’m unintentionally overlooking you No, I will not be reading every slide word for word – that’s cruel You will most likely be offended during this presentation – but hopefully you think I’m funny + Why Alphabet Soup? A Brief Queer Overview Including Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Development in Just 14 Slides Because the full acronym, LGBTQQ2-SIAAP, is a + proverbial and growing alphabet soup Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Two-Spirit, Intersex, Ally, Asexual, and Pansexual + Lesbian A woman who has a continuing psychological, emotional, physical, and/or sexual attraction for other women. Ellen Degeneres Portia de Rossi Jane Lynch Rosie O’Donnell Cynthia Nixon Melissa Etheridge Brandi Carlile Rachel Maddow Wanda Sykes Jodie Foster Xena Warrior Princess + Gay A man who has a continuing psychological, emotional, physical, and/or sexual attraction for other men. Although “gay” may be used to include both men and women, it is most often used to refer to men. Neil Patrick Harris Ian McKellan Matthew Bomer Chris Colfer Lance Bass Adam Lambert Anderson Cooper Stephen Fry Elton John Jim Parsons Albus Dumbledore + Bisexual Someone who has a continuing psychological, emotional, physical, and/or sexual attraction to persons of the same and different genders. Angelina Jolie Billie Joe Armstrong Sia Furler James Dean Lady Gaga Freddy Mercury Anna Paquin Margaret Cho Drew Barrymore Vanessa Carlton Buffy the Vampire Slayer + Straight Ally A heterosexual person who supports equal civil rights, gender equality, LGBT social movements, and challenges homophobia and heterosexism. Daniel Radcliffe Barbra Streisand Bette Midler Anne Hathaway Madonna Cher Darren Criss Charlize Theron Miley Cyrus P!nk Josh Hutcherson + Asexual A sexual orientation characterized by a lack of sexual attraction. Unlike celibacy, which is a choice, asexuality is a sexual orientation. + Pansexual A sexual orientation characterized by the potential for aesthetic attraction, romantic love, and/or sexual desire for people regardless of their gender identity or biological sex. + Questioning Implies an individual is questioning his or her sexual and/or gender identity. It is fairly common and a normal part of human sexuality to experience attraction to, engage in sexual intimacy with, or fantasize about individuals of the same or different genders regardless of sexual orientation. + Sexual Identity and Gender Identity Development From the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) “Adolescents in our research for the Family Acceptance Project (FAP) said they were attracted to another person of the same gender at about age 10. Overall, they identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, on average, at age 13. Their families learned about their LGB identity about a year later.” “Research on supporting both children’s gender identity and transgender adolescents is very limited. Children develop gender identity—a deep sense of being male or female—at early ages. They express clear gender choices for clothes, toys, and personal items. And they begin to express gender identity at about ages 2-3.” + Queer A controversial term literally meaning unusual, but used for people whose sexual and/or gender identity differ from the norm. Queer is also a unifying umbrella term for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning. In this usage, it is usually a synonym for such acronyms as LGBTQ. + Two-Spirit An umbrella term for individuals who fulfill one of many mixed gender roles in First Nations and Native American Tribes. It can also be used as a synonym for such acronyms as LGBTQ. + Transgender An umbrella term for individuals whose gender identity and/or expression does not conform to the characteristics traditionally associated with their biological sex. + Cisgender Refers to individuals whose gender identity and/or expression aligns with the biological sex they were assigned at birth. + Intersex A person whose biological sex is ambiguous. There are many genetic, hormonal, or anatomical variations that make a person's sex ambiguous. [Intersex individuals were formerly called hermaphrodites.] + What’s the take home message? There are way too many words to describe the seemingly endless permutations of sexual orientation and gender identity, all wizards are probably gay, and you had no idea Megan Fox identifies as bisexual. + The Impact of Rejection How Family Rejection, School Bullying, Homophobia, & Heterosexism Affect the Mental Health of LGBTQ Students + Mental Health Facts and Figures Mustanski, B.S., Garofalo, R., & Emerson, E.M. (2010). Mental health disorders, psychological distress, and suicidality in a diverse sample of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youths. American Journal of Public Health, 100, 2426-2432. 33% met criteria for at least one mental disorder 15% met criteria for major depression 31% will attempt suicide during their lifetime LGBTQ youth are 2 to 7 times more likely to attempt suicide than straight youth – attempts may be more serious due to intent & means LGBTQ youth may represent up to 30% of completed suicides From the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) Compared with LGBT young people who were not rejected or were only a little rejected by their parents and caregivers because of their gay or transgender identity, highly rejected LGBT young people were: More than 8 times as likely to have attempted suicide Nearly 6 times as likely to report high levels of depression + Risk Factors & Protective Factors From the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) Potential risk factors: Gender nonconformity Internal conflict about sexual orientation/gender identity Early coming out Low family connectedness Lack of adult caring Unsafe school Family rejection Potential protective factors: Family connectedness (feeling cared about, understood, and having fun and privacy) Family acceptance (related specifically to identity) Safe schools Caring adult (adults in community, faith leaders, and other adult relatives) Victimization/bullying High self-esteem Stigma and discrimination Positive role models + Identifying Potential Sources of Rejection Internalized homophobia Personal acceptance and endorsement of sexual stigma as part of an individual's value system and self-concept Immediate and extended family Friends, peers, and school personnel Religion and community Although religion is typically a protective factor against suicide, it represents a risk factor for LGBTQ youth because of its association with internal conflict, family rejection, and stigma and discrimination Societal stigma and institutionalized discrimination Hilton, S.C., Fellingham, G.W., & Lyon, J.L. (2002). Suicide rates and religious commitment in young adult males in Utah. American Journal of Epidemiology, 155 (5), 413-419. + Family Behaviors that Increase Risk for Health/Mental Health Behaviors From the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Hitting, slapping, or physically hurting your child, verbal harassment or name-calling because of their LGBT identity Blocking access to LGBT friends, events, and resources Blaming your child when they are discriminated against because of their LGBT identity Pressuring your child to be more or less masculine or feminine Telling your child that God will punish them because they are gay Telling your child that you are ashamed of them or that how they look or act will shame the family Making your child keep their LGBT identity a secret in the family and not letting them talk about their identity with others + Family Behaviors that Decrease Risk for Health/Mental Health Behaviors From the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Talk with your child about their LGBT identity Express affection when your child tells you or when you learn that your child is LGBT Support your child’s LGBT identity even though you may feel uncomfortable Advocate for your child when he or she is mistreated because of their LGBT identity Require that other family members respect your LGBT child Connect your child with an LGBT adult role model to show them options for the future Welcome your child’s LGBT friends and partner to your home and to family events and activities Believe your child can have a happy future as an LGBT adult + What’s the take home message? The high rates of mental health concerns among LGBTQ youth should be considered in the context of high rates of family rejection, bullying and harassment, homophobia and heterosexism, religious intolerance, and societal and institutional discrimination. + Creating Safe Spaces Helping LGBTQ Students Return to School After Suicide Attempts + What You Can Do to Help: Getting Started You are NOT required to: March in a Pride parade (or even attend) Advocate for marriage equality (or even believe it’s appropriate) Believe homosexual behavior is acceptable But you MUST: Recognize everyone deserves kindness and respect - regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity Set aside your own personal beliefs - and recognize your own biases/misconceptions Remember acceptance is not the same as agreement or approval + What You Can Do to Help: Helping LGBTQ Youth at School Identify supportive school personnel Disclosures of sexual orientation/gender identity should be kept confidential Address homophobic language/harassment (e.g., “That’s so gay”) Adopt a comprehensive anti-bullying policy that includes sexual orientation and gender expression/identity Remember, language is important! Start a Gay-Straight Alliance and support inclusive curricula National Day of Silence, No Name-Calling Week, Spirit Day Professional development and cultural competency trainings Provide identity-affirming resources – all facets of identity! + Making the Case for Gay-Straight Alliances GSA’s are student clubs that work to improve school climate for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression From the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, “Gay-Straight Alliances: Creating Safer Schools” Students in schools with GSA’s are less likely to hear homophobic remarks in school on a daily basis (57% vs. 75%) Students in schools with a GSA are more likely to report school faculty, staff, and administrators are supportive of LGBTQ students (52% versus 37%) LGBT students in schools with a GSA are more likely to be aware of a supportive adult at school (84% versus 56%) + Providing Resources GLSEN: Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network National Education Organization for Safe Schools The leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students Research and resources for educators, students, and parents regarding the educational needs of LGBTQ youth + Providing Resources The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386 National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Organization The leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ young people ages 13-24 Resources for students, administrators, teachers, counselors, and school social workers + Providing Resources USGA: Understanding Same-Gender Attraction An Unofficial Organization of Brigham Young University Community resource for graduating high school students and adolescents transitioning into young adulthood Weekly meetings are held on Thursdays at 7:00 PM at the Provo Library + Providing Resources Parenting SIB Group Wasatch Mental Health Provo Family Clinic Open to the entire community (Medicaid and non-Medicaid) 3-week psychoeducation group focused on understanding self-injury and how parents can help their children stop engaging in self-injury + The Trevor Project GLSEN – Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network PFLAG – Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays GLAAD – Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation HRC – Human Rights Campaign USGA at BYU – Understanding Same-Gender Attraction Affirmation – LGBT Mormons, Family & Friends Mormons Building Bridges MormonsAndGays.org Online Resources + What’s the take home message? Gaydar is only effective 60% of the time. Seriously. Someone actually spent time researching it. + It’s hard to hate someone whose story you know “All of these lines across my face / tell you the story of who I am / So many stories of where I’ve been / and how I got to where I am / But these stories don’t mean anything / when you’ve got no one to tell them to.” From The Story by Brandi Carlile.