Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transsexual teenagers are a very high risk group. They are more likely to abuse drugs, have mental illnesses, and consider suicide. They are bullied at schools, and rejected by their parents; 40% of homeless youth are LGBT kids. It’s clear that the root of their problems need to be tackled in order for them to live happy healthy lives. Unfortunately, many people on the Religious Right oppose measures to allow them to live in supportive households.
Research has shown time and time again that being in a supportive household improves the mental health of LGBT kids considerably. A survey by TransPulse Project found out that 60% of transgender teenagers with unsupportive parents had thought about suicide, while only 35% of trans teens with supportive parents considered it. More alarmingly, 4% of transgender teenagers in a supportive family attempted suicide, while 57% of transgender teens in unsupportive families attempted suicide, a rate 1,425% higher. A study by the American Association of Pediatrics saw that socially transitioned children with supportive parents had “developmentally normative levels of depression and only minimal elevations in anxiety”, considerable lower rates of internalizing psychopathology than previously reported among children with gender dysphoric children living as their natal sex.
With gay and bisexual Teenagers, a study found that “lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adults who reported higher levels of family rejection during adolescence were 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide, 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression, 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs, and 3.4 times more likely to report having engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse” and another study showed that they were more likely to engage in binge drinking and reported depression. It’s clear from all the data that the best way to improve the mental and physical health of the LGBT community is for them to be in an accepting family.
Unfortunately, many people are against measures to do so.
Recently two bills concerning placing children in foster care, one in Ontario and one in Indiana, have received the ire of the Religious Right. They cry about the “totalitarian” measures to now allow guardians to enforce their morality onto children, but are completely dismissive with the children’s wishes and autonomy. Ironically it is the Religious Right that is being totalitarian by forcing children to stay with guardians who don’t respect them, who they don’t want to be with, and who will likely cause them to have various mental health problems.
LifeSite News reports on Bill 89 from Canada. They claim that the bill “gives legal cover for government workers to discriminate against Christians who want to adopt or foster children.” This is a silly claim since not all Christians are anti-LGBT, but even if they were, religion is not an excuse for being unsupportive towards one’s LGBT children. Any religion that states being gay or transgender is sinful deserves to die out, whether it is conservative Christianity or regular Islam.
The Federalist reports on the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Unlike Ontario’s Bill 89, this bill only focuses on foster kids, not those living with their biological family. Making sure that LGBT kids who are already in the foster system are placed into LGBT-friendly households should just be common sense, but Religion and ideology often trumps that. The article laments that “[staff members] must “provide supportive and affirming care regardless of one’s personal attitudes, beliefs, preconceptions and/or judgments, if any, surrounding matters of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.” They show their bigotry by portraying the acceptance of homosexuals and transgender people in a negative light.
The article then complains that “parents have no say in whether the child will receive puberty blockers or hormone treatments, as long as two physicians, or a physician and a counselor “who is culturally competent in transgender health care,” sign off.”” Any sane person would realize that medical professionals know how to treat children’s health better than their parents. Parents who have moral objections to blood donations should not be able to deny anemic children blood donations. Parents with moral objections to anti-depressants should not be allowed to deny depressed children anti-depressants. And parents should not be able to be allowed to deny their gender dysphoric children puberty blockers, when they’ve been shown to allow transgender minors to live a virtually normal life.
One real objection to be had is the part where “All DCFS/POS staff, providers and foster parents are required to be culturally competent in serving the needs of LGBTQ children and youth, including understanding the challenges that LGBTQ and particularly transgender/gender expansive child/youth face in foster care and congregate care.” Mandatory training in LGBT youth education seems a bit excessive for those who won’t be working with LGBT kids, and in my opinion it should only be mandatory for those who have had issues working with LGBT children. However the issues affecting LGBT Kids do deserve attention so I can’t complain about this too much.
I’ve heard another objection is that kids who are not really LGBT, but following a trend to claim victimhood- such as “polygenders” will fall under these categories (Gender non-conforming kids, such as effeminate boys and butch girls, who don’t go out of their way to call themselves a new gender merely because of their fashion choices should be respected). It’s clear that the authors of the articles’ problem lies within actual gender dysphoric teenagers, not “multi-gendered/polysexual/attack helicopters” (The last part was a joke, nobody is seriously identifying as a helicopter… yet) who don’t wish to medically transition but still claim to be trans, but there certainly are people who care about transgender issues while recognizing the silliness of the current non-binary trend.
Bill 89 states that “The child’s views and wishes, given due weight in accordance with the child’s age and maturity” hopefully common sense will be used when the issue arises. Should the law be abused and transtrenders are given weight, then it should be amended, but the baby shouldn’t be thrown out with the bathwater and the parts protecting homosexual, bisexual, transsexual, and gender non-conforming children from unsupportive guardians should be kept.
There is a view that children are the property of their parents, so their parents should be able to enforce their values against the wishes of the child. This is a revolting view to have, but it’s not even one they hold consistently. For example, when National Geographic put Avery Jackson, a 9-year-old transgender girl on their cover, the same publications that denounce Bill 89 and the the Illinois DCFS for allowing the government to “tyrannically” remove LGBT children from unsupportive families, claimed “Child Abuse” at a family who was allowing their natal male child to identify as a girl. Now of course I’d agree with them if the family was forcing their child to behave a certain way, however the parents were unaware of transgender issues before their child brought it up, and went to many medical professionals.
And sure, there are likely a few parents who are extreme Social Justice sickos that will force their children to conform to the gender opposite to their natal sex, and this should be treated as child abuse. But let’s face it, parents rejecting their LGBT and gender non-conforming children is much more common, and the Religious Right will never denounce that. It’s only a problem to them when LGBT activists force their values on their children, never when Christian Conservatives (and by default homophobic Muslims) do it.
The Religious Right are hypocrites to the nth degree. They wish to discriminate but cry when their beliefs are discriminated against. They engage in fearmongering the tyrannical government taking children away from parents, but want gender non-conforming children to be taken away from their parents. They claim to fight “degeneracy” but their rejection of their LGBT children’s sexuality and gender identity causes higher rates of drug use, underage drinking, mental illness, and unprotected sex amongst them. And worst of all they claim to wish to “protect vulnerable children’ while forcing them to remain in unsupportive households. Children are not the property of their parents and deserve supportive guardians.