“According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the rate of substance abuse disorders among LGBT individuals isn’t well known, but studies indicate it may be 20% to 30%, which is significantly higher than the general population (9%).”
At USU, we strive to welcome and support the LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Asexual/Agender) community. We do not discriminate and strive to be as inclusive as possible. Several in our organizations are LGBTQIA and we will not stand for abuse of them or of you.
Gay men, among other groups, are said to have injection drug use issues at nearly 10 times the normal rate. It would be contrary to our values to reject anyone in need and we enthusiastically support any efforts to be safer and to make positive change.
We understand that some may be less familiar with these groups than others and we welcome respectful conversation, with an emphasis on respect – which includes these conversations only being had with those that wish to have them. If you are among our number, you should know full well about discrimination and stigma and we hope you realize the way in which LGBTQIA people have suffered the same in their lives.
Another thing to keep in mind, from americanprogress.org :
“Minority stress—the negative effects associated with the adverse social conditions experienced by individuals of a marginalized social group—is something gay and transgender people have to deal with every day. This stress is triggered by general social prejudice against being gay or transgender, as well as discriminatory laws and policies.
Antigay and antitransgender social prejudice stems from the belief that being gay or transgender is somehow wrong or bad. It can be expressed in subtle ways (for example, a receptionist at a pediatrician’s office asking a lesbian couple which of the pair is their child’s “real” parent), or it can be expressed in verbal and physical violence (two men holding hands getting taunted with antigay epithets or a transgender person getting jumped by a group of strangers).”
If you are LGBTQIA, feel free to present as your true self. Feel free to tell us your pronouns or correct us if we make a mistake. We support you living your truth and want to help you in anyway we can to make it possible.
Homelessness is also a critical issue for transgender people; one in five transgender individuals have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives. Family rejection and discrimination and violence have contributed to a large number of transgender and other LGBQ-identified youth who are homeless in the United States – an estimated 20-40% of the more than 1.6 million homeless youth.
We also understand the ways in which LGBTQIA individuals face obstacles that can intersect with our own and are, at times, more dire than some of our own. It is believed that about 38% of homeless people abuse alcohol while 26% regularly use other drugs. As such, this is an issue that is paramount to both groups and among those numbers of each, it is likely that many exist at this intersection.
Nearly a fifth of the 5,462 single-bias hate crimes reported to the F.B.I. in 2014 were because of the target’s sexual orientation, or, in some cases, their perceived orientation. (NYTimes)
LGBTQIA individuals face greater risks of violence and intolerance than any minority group. It is believed, in spite of those above numbers, that much of the violence toward them goes unreported. Be it the PULSE Nightclub shooting of 2016 or the daily injuries and attacks suffered by the trans community, up to and including murders, it is clear that this group is still at great risk.
In keeping with the message of ‘Any Positive Change’, we believe and hope for the LGBTQIA community that ‘It Gets Better’ – the organization by that name states the following:
“Growing up isn’t easy. Many young people face daily tormenting and bullying, leading them to feel like they have nowhere to turn. This is especially true for LGBT kids and teens, who often hide their sexuality for fear of bullying. Without other openly gay adults and mentors in their lives, they can’t imagine what their future may hold. In many instances, gay and lesbian adolescents are taunted — even tortured — simply for being themselves.
While many of these teens couldn’t see a positive future for themselves, we can. The It Gets Better Project was created to show young LGBT people the levels of happiness, potential, and positivity their lives will reach – if they can just get through their teen years. The It Gets Better Project wants to remind teenagers in the LGBT community that they are not alone — and it WILL get better.”
We affirm that message and want to do whatever we can to be a part of that better life, be you a teen, adult or older person. We believe everyone deserves support and we strive to give you the support you need.