Depression Among the LGBT Youth

The new rainbow pride flag is a design disaster—but a triumph for ...

Depression is a common mental illness worldwide, with more than 264 million people affected by it. It can often lead to suicide and close to 800,000 people die due to suicide every year; their ages between 15 and 29. However, depression affects the LGBT people at a higher rate than heterosexual people. It is also more likely that LGBT youths are more likely to report high levels of drug use and feelings of depression than their straight counterparts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lesbian, gay and bisexual youths in grades 7 through 12 are twice as likely to attempt suicide as their heterosexual peers.

STATISTICS ABOUT LGBT YOUTH AT SCHOOL:

According to the eminent psychologist Stanley Hall, ‘Adolescence is a period of stress and storm.’ This couldn’t be truer. Adolescence is a period when every individual tries to figure themselves out and try to understand where they fit in. But this period is all the more challenging for the LGBT youth. They can be put through several hardships that include, but are not limited to bullying, teasing and physical violence. This is mainly because of negative attitudes and cultural stigmas put against them.

Surveys led by different committees during the years 2013 and 2015 jointly come to these horrifying conclusions about the harassment faced by the LGBT youth regularly in the school premises:

  • 55% of LGBT youth feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation, and 37% feel unsafe because of their gender expression.
  • 74% of LGBT youth were verbally harassed because of their sexual orientation, and 55% were verbally harassed because of their gender expression.
  • 16% were physically assaulted, either punched, kicked or injured with a weapon, because of their sexual orientation, and 11% of them experienced this type of assault because of their gender expression.
  • 28% were bullied electronically.
  • 18% of the LGBT students have faced physical dating violence.
  • 18% of the youths were forced to have intercourse at some point in their lives during the adolescence.

A hostile and aggressive school environment is bound to have a negative impact performance of a student in school. LGBT students who experience victimization and discrimination typically have worse grades and don’t perform well academically.

HOME LIFE FOR THE LGBT YOUTH:

Challenges for many LGBT youths simply do not end with the end of school. The response of the parents also has a major impact on the child’s current and future mental and physical health. Negative reaction often leads to homelessness for the LGBT youth either because they have been thrown out or because they run away due to conflict with parents. The True Colors Fund states that on an average, 1.6 million youths experience homelessness each year and 40% of them identify as LGBT.

According to CDC, the challenges faced by these youths put them at a great risk for mental health problems which include, but are not limited to:

  • Behaviours that contribute to violence such as carrying a weapon or getting in fights.
  • Behaviours that contribute to unintentional injuries, such as driving without a seatbelt or driving drunk.
  • Tobacco, alcohol, or other drug use.
  • Risky sexual behaviours like not using birth control.
  • Depression
  • Suicide or suicide attempts.

 IN INDIA:

Ever since the legalisation of the LGBT community on 6th of September in 2018, India has seen a growth in the members of the community. Even if legalised, the LGBT are not seen as heterosexuals. They are not even regarded as normal human beings based only on their sexual orientation or gender expression. The community faces many key mental health issues, such as:

  • Fear and anxiety related issues, about their own identity, being ‘outed,’ relationships, acceptance, safety, etc.
  • Mood related issues, including depression.
  • Lower sense of self, affecting self-esteem, self-confidence, and impacting performance, achievement and life satisfaction.
  • Lack of access to quality help, resources and support that may lead to greater unsafe behaviour.
  • Rejection and bullying, often starting from home and school.
  • Access to education, employment and social places can be limited or intimidating.
  • Workplace discrimination, often subtle and indirect, can keep people from fully exploring their capabilities.
  • Denial of basic rights, such as proper medical care has a negative impact on their health.

The important thing to remember here is that the higher incidence of mental problems among the LGBT youth is certainly not because of their sexual orientation, as there is no mental health issue which is caused sue to one’s sexuality or gender expression. It is because of the lack of acceptance and support that they get because of their choices. The difference between these two must be realised.

Mental Health in the LGBT Community
A chart showing the percentage of depression among the LGBT+ Community

“The confusion begins at adolescence,” says T. D. Sivakumar, a founder of Nirangal, an organisation that works on LGBT rights, “The notion that being homosexual is wrong is around all of us. So teenagers begin to think that there is something wrong with them. When they are older, they begin to read and learn more. But this often leads to a breach with the family- they either leave or hide their sexuality, both of which can cause problems.” He says.

SUPPORT:

The support must start in childhood as it is important that the LGBT youths have support both at their schools and homes. LGBT youth should feel comfortable and safe in environments that are socially, emotionally and physically supportive.

SCHOOLS:

Growing up, a child spends a lot of their time in schools and among peers, so the schools can do a number of things that can make the environment safer and more supportive for the LGBT youth, such as:

  • Implementing clear policies against discrimination and harassment.
  • Fostering support groups, such as gay-straight alliances, and other student clubs.
  • Implementing LGBT topics as part of the curriculum.
  • Having a supportive staff.

HOME:

Parents should be willing to talk openly with their teens about any problems they might be having at home or school and be watchful for any signs of violence and bullying. Parents should:

  • Talk.
  • Listen.
  • Be supportive.
  • Be proactive.
  • Stay involved in their teen’s life.

CONCLUSION:

With the passing of each year, we are taking one step ahead of being better than our previous selves. The discrimination between straight and LGBT community simply should’t exist because at the end of the day, we are all human beings. Just because they have a different sexual preference doesn’t make them any different. So let’s all support them because together, we can make this world, a better place to live in.

Thank you.

Book Review: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

DaVinciCode.jpg
The first edition of ‘The Da Vinci Code’

Dan Brown amazes the readers once again by his sensational masterpiece that is ‘The Da Vinci Code’. This is the second book where the protagonist is Robert Langdon, a symbology professor in the Harvard University. Brown has a unique way of uniting science and religion in a way that mesmerizes his audience and he has succeeded in doing that in this book as well.

Plot Summary (SPOILER ALERT!!!):

In the Louvre, an albino monk named Silas fatally shoots Jacques Saunière, a curator of the museum and the Grand Master of the Priory of Sion, in search of the Holy Grail. The French police then calls up Robert Langdon and asks him to come to the crime scene under the false pretense of needing his help to interpret it. When Langdon arrives at the crime scene, he is baffled to find out that Saunière’s body depicts the Vitruvian Man by Leonardo Da Vinci.

Da Vinci Vitruve Luc Viatour.jpg
Vitruvian Man by Leonardo Da Vinci

Police captain Bezu Fache tells Langdon that they need help deciphering a cryptic message that Saunière left during his last moments, which is revealed to be the Fibonacci sequence. What Fache doesn’t tell Langdon is that Langdon is a chief suspect of Saunière’s murder because of another message that he had written P. S. Find Robert Langdon.

Sophie Neveau, Saunière’s estranged granddaughter, and a police cryptographer, however realizes that the message was meant for her, as ‘P. S.’ stands for Princess Sophie, her childhood nickname, and not ‘postscript’. Her grandfather wanted her to find Robert and search for the Holy Grail. Sophie helps Robert in escaping the police, in spite of her being troubled by memories of her grandfather participating in the ritual of ‘hieros gamos’. She understands that her grandfather wanted Langdon to decipher the code. The duo are then lead to a safe deposit box in the Paris branch of the Depository Bank of Zurich. In the deposit box, they find a cryptex,a cylindrical, hand-held vault with five concentric, rotating dials labeled with letters. When these are lined up correctly, they unlock the device. If the cryptex is forced open, an enclosed vial of vinegar breaks and dissolves the message inside the cryptex, which is written on papyrus. The cryptex is the keystone they were searching for.

The Da Vinci Code Cryptex: Amazon.in: Electronics
The cryptex in the safe deposit box

Langdon and Neveau take the keystone to Sir Leigh Teabing, who is an expert on Holy Grail and is connected to the Priory. They find out that the Grail is not a cup, but a tomb containing the bones of Mary Magdalene. The trio flees to London and during the flight, they decipher a riddle which leads them to the tomb of Sir Isaac Newton in Westminster Abbey, where it is revealed that Teabing is the person for whom Silas had been working. The cryptex had another small cryptex inside it and due to Langdon’s quick wit, he solves it, while Teabing keeps him at gun point and throws the empty vessel at him. Teabing is later arrested by Fache.

The final message inside the second keystone leads Neveau and Langdon to the Rosslyn Chapel, where she finds her long lost brother, who she had been told died in a car accident, and her grandmother. It is also revealed that Sophie and her brother are the descendants to Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ. The real meaning of the last message, however is that the Grail is beneath the La Pyramide Inversée, the inverted glass pyramid of Louvre. It also lies beneath the Rose Line, an allusion to Rosslyn. Langdon figures out this last mystery and follows the Rose Line to the inverted pyramid where he kneels to pray before the hidden sarcophagus of Mary Magdalene as the Templar knights did before him.

Review of the Book:

I picked up this book mainly because of the controversy surrounding it. The controversies related to the Grail and Christian beliefs are a main theme of the book. For some reason, Christian beliefs have always piqued my interest. The way Brown has made connections between some symbols and femininity is just brilliant. It just goes on to show how creative Brown is as an author of mystery novels. The connection he has made with Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ, though may be offensive to some, certainly weren’t to me. I found the whole plot and the story to be a literary genius and would recommend it to anyone who is out for mystery and wants a good read. The plot twist was certainly amazing. I did not see Teabing to be the one behind everything! I was truly amazed by it. Brown’s writing style has a certain appeal that draws me in ever time I read his work. They truly aren’t disappointing. He never ceases to amaze me with his breathtaking, adventurous and mysterious works; especially how he portrays different aspects of a religion or religious things. I would rate this book a solid 5/5 and hope for everyone to give it a read.

Please like and share!

Death by Racism

25th May 2020 was just another Monday to me. I woke up thinking that my highlight of the day would be knowing how much the number of the people affected by coronavirus increased or how many more died till date. But as it turns out fate had other plans.

I was just mindlessly scrolling through Instagram when I came across a post. It was a picture that I am sure all of you are very familiar with. On a black background, the words ‘I CAN’T BREATHE’ were written in white with the name George Floyd beneath it. I didn’t think much of it at first, but as the day went on, I found out that another black life was taken in America. I went on to the internet, to search and find out what had actually happened and what I found out horrified me to the very core. A police officer of the Minneapolis Police Department was kneeling over a man, who later turned out to be George, with his knee to his neck, crushing his windpipe. Within eight minutes and forty six seconds, an innocent man’s life was taken, and why? Just because he turned out to be a black person.

It’s not just him who is the only victim of this appalling racism. For decades now the colour of the skin of a person has been a deciding factor as to whether he is guilty or not. Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many, many others have been a victim of this wildfire of racism. They were people, people who had dreams like the most of us that they were working towards. They had families, families who are devastated and shocked by this big a loss. They deserved to live, to have a life they wanted and not be brutally killed because they are black. How can people live a life without worry knowing that the ones who are entrusted to protect and save them are the ones killing them? Most importantly, what role is the Government playing to protect its people? Trump has tucked his tail and ran away. Protests are taking place everywhere in America. But it shouldn’t be only them who protest. The whole world needs to unite together and fight against this disease, which is worse and more fatal than any. We need to speak up for them and stop this racism from taking over. We need justice, justice for the ones we have lost. The ones who were mercilessly killed because of their skin colour. It didn’t matter whether they were innocent or not, the fact that they have a darker skin colour did it for them. We can’t let that happen anymore. For America, it is racism, but for India it’s so much more in the form of domestic violence, political fights, religious disputes, the LGBTQIA Community, female infanticide…… and it’s still going on. This needs to stop, we need to make it stop, otherwise it will consume us wholly and leave nothing behind.

I am not a very renowned blogger, nor am I a great writer, but I hope that I have made my point clear. Please comment and share as much as you can, because we need to spread awareness and show people who are going through the worst that we are with them. That some people will always love and support them in spite of their skin colour, gender, religion, sexual preferences because at the end of the day, we are all humans, humans who are striving for peace. I will attach a link of a petition. It’s a petition to bring justice to George Floyd by punishing the four officers who were with George’s murderer, watching like sick people. If even one person reading my post signs, it will be a step in the right direction to bringing George justice.

Thank you.

The link to the petition ‘Justice for George’: https://www.change.org/p/mayor-jacob-frey-justice-for-george-floyd

Let’s work together in not adding one more name to the already huge list:

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