Self-harm in LGBTQI young people
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex young people often feel marginalised in society, alienated by friends and fearful of coming out to their families. For many of these young people, the journey to understanding and discovering their gender identity or sexual orientation can be extremely painful.
Some people know their sexual orientation from a young age, and some begin exploring this around the time of secondary school transition. For others, it might not be until late in their teens or even their twenties. Whenever it is, without a supportive and caring community around them, it can be very tough. The pain might come from the worry of not being accepted, or even being excluded by family or friends, from being bullied by others, or from fears and anxieties around coming out.
The statistics for young people in the LBGTQI community who have considered suicide is 59%, while 48% have self-harmed. These numbers sadly reflect the feeling of being alone and the emotional turmoil that many journey through.
Knowing who you are in the quiet of your own bedroom is one thing, telling others is another. Often, the leap can feel too great if you are fearful of how others might respond. That feeling of being at odds with yourself is what can lead to self-harm. You may live in a family who will find your coming out hard to handle for reasons of religion, culture, ignorance or fear. Ensuring you are linked to organisations like Stonewall or Mermaids can be hugely helpful in finding supportive likeminded people to talk to about your journey who can listen to your worries and answer questions you may have. They have fantastic online communities but also do face-to-face meetups across the UK, with the opportunity to build and develop deep friendships with those who ‘get you’ and with whom you can truly be yourself.
Working through who you are and developing your self-identity can be a hard journey to come on, but it will lead you to understand yourself better, and hopefully, make you happier in yourself. At SelfharmUK we recognise this and seek to challenge prejudice on issues of diversity and acceptance through our work in schools, our training for professionals and parents, and most importantly, in our work with you.
In our online support programme, Alumina, you will receive a warm welcome for who you are, not how you define yourself or who you might feel you need to be when others are around. All our welcome.