As my babies prepare to go back to school, they are nervous and excited. I don’t know about you, but if I have to put them in a hazmat suit to attend, so be it. Seriously though, school should be a safe and affirming place for all kids, LGBTQ+ included. When I see the news headlines about gym teachers refusing to respect pronouns and teachers leaving because of diversity policies, I worry.
According to the Human Rights Campaign’s 2018 LGBTQ Youth Survey:
- 67% of LGBTQ students hear their families make negative comments about LGBTQ people.
- While some students are open about their LGBTQ identity at school, only 21% are out at home.
- Privacy and confidentiality are critically important for LGBTQ youth, especially for those who do not have supportive families. Extreme rejecting behaviors can have dire consequences: Approximately 40% of the homeless youth population in the United States identify as LGBTQ, most as a result of rejection by immediate family members.
- Additionally, LGBTQ youth of color often face additional stress and adverse impacts on their health and well-being as a result of bias around their intersecting identities.
So what can you do to signal safe spaces for trans youth be they patients, clients, students, and family members? We have developed a window cling that can be placed in a window to signal that it is an affirming space. My daughter named our website: www.narwhalmagickindness.com. We use this platform to provide resources to parents and educators in affirming trans and non-binary youth.
Doctors and teachers are one of the cornerstones of affirmation in a child’s life. These are secondary only to home. For those kids who do not have a safe space at home, it is essential for them to be able to turn to a trusting adult. In our small business, we see thousands of children each year. We show affirmation through pronouns on our name badges, symbols in our consultation room and, of course, rainbows galore.
You too can place a small symbol of affirmation in your work or home space. Our 2.6”x3” narwhal includes the inclusive rainbow as well as a transgender flag horn. We encourage everyone to show overt signs of affirmation and welcome to all who cross their threshold. Join me in showing that truly, all are welcome. The voices of discrimination and homophobia/transphobia and racism will not win. Community is essential and safe spaces are lifesaving. Purchase your affirmation cling by visiting: https://www.narwhalmagickindness.com/shop