A new report from The Trevor Project reveals that Asian/Pacific Islander (API) LGBTQ youth (13-24) struggle to admit their sexual orientation and gender identity to their parents.
Within Asian culture leaning to its more traditional side, hiding one’s sexual orientation or gender identity isn’t uncommon. An abundance of factors can play into why a less progressive family may not be open or is resistant to the mere idea of being gay, bi, trans, asexual, and the like.
It could be anything from, fear of rejection, differing cultural values like “saving or losing face,” survivalist instincts from growing up in a turbulent country or background, being uneducated on the topic, religion, or summed up simply as “we don’t talk about this.” Especially in cultures that find it hard to say terms of affection like “I love you,” coming out to one’s parents can result in devastating losses like disownment or suicide.
That’s why The Trevor Project exists; to be the “leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services” to LGBTQ youth under 25 within the U.S.
The report’s data on API youth was extrapolated from The Trevor Project’s 2019 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, from a pool of 25,896 consenting participants, “of which 785 identified as exclusively API.”
In it, some of the key findings were that when API LGBTQ youth were accepted by their friends, their risk of attempting suicide would be lowered by more than half; only 42% of APIs were likely to share their sexual orientation with parents, significantly less from their non-API peers (68%); 60% of APIs were also less likely to share their depressed mood, compared to non-APIs (71%); 33% were seriously considering suicide, and 15% were attempting suicide; and that trans and nonbinary APIs were three times as likely to report a suicide attempt within the last year compared to cisgender API LGBTQ youth.
A statement from Director of Research for The Trevor Project, Amy E. Green, Ph.D., to NextShark called for a change within the API community and a shift towards better mental health care.
“Acceptance from parents and peers are two of the strongest protective factors for LGBTQ youth mental health. Although Asian/Pacific Islander youth were less likely to disclose their LGBTQ identity to parents, most Asian/Pacific Islander youth shared their LGBTQ identities and were accepted by friends. This acceptance reduced the risk of attempting suicide by more than half,” Green continued. “These data highlight the need for culturally-grounded mental health care and suicide prevention initiatives that take into account the unique experiences of Asian/Pacific Islander LGBTQ youth.”
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