The coronavirus deserted college campuses and school grounds across the world, sending millions of young people back to their parents. For LGBT youth, that can mean returning to a place where they aren’t accepted, and unable to live openly.
With this reality in mind, The British LGBT Awards and It Gets Better UK have launched a campaign featuring uplifting video messages from an array of LGBT celebrities, including Caitlyn Jenner, “Queer Eye’s” Bobby Berk, Lena Waithe and director Dustin Lance Black. The series will begin Tuesday with host Stephen Frye, according to Pink News.
“This is a difficult time for everyone, but especially young LGBT+ kids who are locked down right now,” Jenner said in her video message, recorded from her home in Malibu, Calif. “I just want to say to everybody: stay positive, there is going to be brighter days ahead – I promise you that.”
The CEO of The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBT young people, told NPR the number of people reaching out to the group’s crisis intervention hotline has sometimes surged to more than double the volume they were seeing earlier this year. With more than 36 million Americans filing for unemployment over the last two months, graduating college seniors are entering a disastrous job market, increasing the likelihood they will be forced to live with parents or guardians for the foreseeable future. The American Council on Education is also projecting a 15 percent decline in college enrollment this fall, per the New York Times, meaning more graduating LGBT high school seniors will remain at home as well.
While brief video messages from well-known celebrities do not serve as a panacea for mental anguish, it can be comforting to know there are still support systems out there. Remember: physical distancing is not the same as social distancing. Now more than ever, it is important to be together, even if it can only be done virtually.
If you are considering suicide, LGBTQ youth (ages 24 and younger) can reach the Trevor Project Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386. Adults can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 24 hours a day, and it’s available to people of all ages and identities. Trans or gender-nonconforming people can reach Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860.