If you were to ask me how I came out as a member of LGBTQ+, I'd tell you the enthralling tale of how my mom found out I was queer in the middle of a Joann Fabric and Craft Store. There wasn't any large celebration, nothing planned. As a matter of fact, I didn't even intend to come out that day. We were simply walking down the aisles when I mentioned which i had a date. She followed this confession using the typical parental investigation – what is his name, does he go to school, etc. Of course, she was type of shocked when I gave her a lady name.

Contrary to what you might think, my mother handled it graciously and supported me from the get-go. When I came out as genderqueer, it had been a tad more thought-out. Though it seemed to be more difficult, my mother still continued to like me. There was no crying, a minimum of none that I saw. No shouting at the top of her lungs, no threats of eternal damnation, nothing physical. However, this has not been the case for those my family. Some of my family members have since ostracized me and ignored me for quite some time so far. Being queer and trans isn't an easy feat.

I know what you're considering: how does this relate to suicide prevention? Let me explain. In their 2021 national survey on LGBTQ youth, the Trevor Project discovered that about 39% of LGBTQ+ youth have considered suicide at some point within the last year. What's more, of those that participated in the survey, 54% of trans and non-binary youth stated that they considered suicide.

It was also reported that just about 71% have felt hopeless for 2 or more consecutive weeks in the past year. These statistics keep growing as we examine LGBTQ+ adults. About one in three adults, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), notice a mental health condition such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Whereas it is likely lesser for those not in the community, specifically one in five. The HRC continues to state that, according to the US Transgender Survey, about 40% of transgender adults have attempted suicide at some time in their life.

Everyone's mental health matters, there's no doubt about it. However, the particular issues that LGBTQ+ people face, particularly those with intersecting identities, are unique. Certainly one of my fears, both after i started coming out in 2021 thus far, is being rejected for who I'm. Being told that I am not worthy of my family's love due to a part of myself that I cannot change. I remember being scared of not having one to spend the holidays with or to visit during college breaks. For many, these thoughts are their reality. Our youth is forced out onto the streets while the family who just kicked them out sleep soundly in their warm beds. Trans folks are harassed with invasive questions for example “what's in your pants.”

Leelah Alcorn, Blake Brockington, Tyler Clementi. These are a few faces amongst a sea of people who have taken their lives. And only the ones that we are aware of. Their deaths might have been prevented.

As a matter of fact, a sizable factor that plays a role in the survival of LGBTQ+ folks may be the acceptance and support from their loved ones. Having family, whether or not they are chosen or biological, is crucial. Humans are social creatures; when we are malnourished if we don't get the love and support that people all crave.

So, how can you support LGBTQ+ folks, especially those close to you?

Respect pronouns and name changes. You need to understand that while change is tough, misgendering and deadnaming can be detrimental. Like any healthy relationship, communication is an essential and powerful aspect. Hence, listen to their hardships and prosperity as if you would anyone else. Validate their experiences and inform them that you are there when they need support. Take the time to educate yourself on what life is like for an LGBTQ+ person and learn how to become an ally for your loved one(s). Most importantly, let them know that they are loved. If we are deadnamed or assaulted or murdered, it's hard to remember that we are loved. Remind them that they're loved and I promise you that it will make a difference.

This information should not be necessary. Yet, here I am typing it because a lot of LGBTQ+ lives have been lost to suicide. So, be sure to support your loved ones because you could literally function as the difference in whether they live or otherwise.