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LGBTQ Support in Sonoma County

by Analyse Gutierrez
This article talks about findings and further support for LGBTQ youth based on several interviews done by Sonoma State University students.
LGBTQ Support in Sonoma County
By: Analyse Gutierrez

Throughout the years, the LGBTQ community has struggled to gain the same rights as their straight cisgender counterparts, such as the right to marry someone they love. As the fight for equality has lasted for decades it has created a type of exhaustion for members of the LGBTQ community.
The LGBTQ community is faced with discrimination on a daily basis. As they are faced with discrimination, they are more likely to have symptoms of mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Those who are people of color and part of the LGBTQ community also face struggles of racism and discrimination, this leads to further symptoms of depression and anxiety, and even suicidal tendencies.

Being part of a study at Sonoma State University about LGBTQ members and their relationship with mental health and suicide has allowed me to notice the correlation. The role I had was taking notes for the interviewer. Doing this job, I was able to meet members of the LGBTQ community and some allies. Many interviewees discussed the anxiety they faced when coming out to parents and family members and the pain they felt being rejected. The rejection leads to a depressive state and a feeling of being unwanted and not welcomed.

Doing these interviews, the topic of a safe space was constantly talked about. In Sonoma County, there are a variety of non-profits and other communities that provide safe spaces for LGBTQ youth and informative presentations. Positive Images is a nonprofit organization that holds support groups, mentorships, and overall a safe space for LGBTQ youth. Sonoma County has done an amazing job at creating safe spaces such as Positive Images for LGBTQ youth. During our interviews, many interviewees had nothing but nice things to say about Positive Images.

One thing that I would argue Sonoma County (and every county for that matter) needs is more resources for those who are older and no longer youth. An interviewee discussed their want for more housing specifically for LGBTQ members who do not have or cannot afford a home. Having a space that is specifically LGBTQ members will allow others to feel more comfortable and safe. It is as simple as being around someone who has gone through the same thing and can be relatable. I would also argue that making the resources that are available to LGBTQ youth, available to LGBTQ adults would help decrease the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts and actions.

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