How we got here
The labelling? It is a big deal.
Between the ages of 13 and 18 years old, it's a battle with depression, hopelessness and suicidal thoughts.
They struggle with the [sexual identity] questions that cripple their young lives
They are labelled ‘faggot’, freak’, ‘homo’ by "friends"
They miss out on being a normal teenager simply because they are perceived to be ‘different’ by their peers, family, friends and classmates
They are bullied, labelled, shunned and tormented on a daily basis
Around 18 years old, they come out and many of them suppress the anguish, depression and shame that they experienced throughout their teen years. They also find that, like so many others, society now defines them by their sexual identity.
The numbers don't lie
Take a look at these statistics from Stonewall (www.stonewall.org):
55% of LGBTQ+ young people experience homophobic bullying.
32% of gay pupils who experience homophobic bullying change their plans for future education because of it.
45% of gay kids say they feel it’s ‘hard for people like me to be accepted’
23% of LGBTQ+ young people have tried to take their own life at some point.
The lost teenage years are the rule rather than the exception for LGBTQ+ teens. There are way too many stories of teens who experienced similar Lost Years.
Even worse many are condemned to a lifetime of feeling abnormal, with little self esteem, self confidence and self worth.
Beyond the labels....
What do you think happens to these teens when they enter adulthood?
The effects of the labelling, bullying, depression and shame do not simply vanish once they leave adolescence?
They are expected to just get on with it, and many do try to 'just get on' with life. Yet it is usually a life that is framed within the narrow confines of being ‘not normal’ and one that is defined by their sexual identity.
The sad part is that because of The Lost Years, the world is deprived of the brilliance, creativity and successes that could have been achieved.
It's time to take control of the narrative.