Taking pride in June!
Diversity is being invited to the party and inclusion is being asked to dance. Our in-house diversity and inclusion expert, nasiya acklen shares with us ways to build inclusive homes and communities.
In what feels like a short amount of time, we have already reached the month of June! Can you believe it? This month is significant for many reasons: for example, June marks the start of Hurricane Season, it’s traditionally the most popular month for weddings, and it is also nationally recognized as PRIDE month — a time for highlighting the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning) community in honor of the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan. Today, many companies house PRIDE affinity networks and some major cities host PRIDE parades, celebrations, and festivals throughout the month of June. It is a true celebration of taking PRIDE in who you are and your own sexuality, and many of us as Allies sign-up to support and participate.
If this isn’t your preference to participate or support, today, I am not advocating for such. However through my work in the diversity & inclusion space, I have come across some painstaking statistics that I felt compelled to share — regardless of my sexual orientation — simply because I care about the wellbeing of all children.
According to the Human Rights Campaign survey of over 10,000 LGBT-identified youth ages 13 -17:
- LGBT youth are twice as likely as their peers to say they have been physically assaulted, kicked, or shoved at.
- Twenty-six percent of LGBT youth say their biggest problems are not feeling accepted by their family, trouble at school/bullying, and a fear to be out/open versus 22% of non-LGBT youth say their biggest problems are trouble with class, exams, and grades.
Even worse, a deeper dive analysis of youth age 12-14 from the Journal of Adolescent Health captured on NBC uncovered that 1 in 4 pre-teen suicides may be LGBTQ youth. Yes, you read that right: this study addresses suicides for ages 12 -14; a time when life should be devoid of such soul-altering stressors.
After reading the alarming data, I couldn’t help but think to myself that no child should be harmed, bullied, or contemplating taking their own life — under any circumstances. I imagined what it must feel like to be a supportive parent of an LGBTQ child. Feeling powerless and unable to change the way that the world treats them, simply for being homosexual (or exhibiting stereotypical homosexual behavior).
Although I am not directly advocating for you to change your views or beliefs, I am, however, hopeful that you will take a step back and think through what you have innately shown or expressed to your child(ren) about the LGBTQ community. What have they heard you say? How do you react to marriage equality in the news or when you are within the presence of a same sex couple? Most importantly, what do you teach your children about having compassion for people that are different from them? This applies to all sorts of differences — not just the ones we think are easier for our families to accept. If we truly want to make a difference in this world, I believe the real magic to do so is through empathy. And just like Whitney said… I too believe the children are our future. Let this month be the start of a life we all can be PROUD of!
#ME3PROJECT DISCUSSION STARTERS:
If you or someone you love is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please call the national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255 (available 24 hours, everyday) or visit www. Suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ for additional resources
For LGBTQ-related resources, you can visit www.glaad.org/resourcelist for more information
- Have you had the conversation with your child(ren) about sex/sexuality? Do you face some challenges when bringing up the topic of discussion?
- If you feel your child(ren) are too young, what do you teach them early on about empathy? Practice having the conversation around LGBTQ dialogue with a friend or family member in the community. If you need help finding someone, reach out to local LGBTQ community groups in the area to inquire ways to assist as an ally.
Nasiya Acklen is a native of Nashville, TN. She matriculated at Hampton University for her undergraduate degree and received her MBA from Cornell University. Nasiya is currently a Human Resources professional at a Fortune 500 company and has a burning passion for being a change agent, particularly in the realm of Diversity & Inclusion. Nasiya has adopted Maya Angelou’s quote as a personal mantra: My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.