I had the good fortune several months ago of meeting Dr. Ron Holt and hearing him speak on the biology of gay sexuality, bullying and suicide prevention. Dr. Holt is a clinical psychiatrist who is committed to sharing scientific facts about human sexuality, LGBT health issues, and bullying, and he backs up that commitment by donating his time, speaking primarily to medical and collegiate audiences around the country. You will find a link to his website - Audacity of Pride - on this blog, and I also encourage you to follow him on Twitter (LGBT Shrink - @Dr.RonHolt).
In a day and time when so many young people are striving to become more open about their sexual orientation, I find Dr. Holt a purveyor of hope and vital source of information for anyone struggling with acceptance, health related issues, and non-acceptance or bullying from others. I refer to young people because I work with them everyday, but adults are certainly not immune. As Ron said in a recent Tweet, "Research shows that LGBT youth who are closeted are at greater risk for depression, substance abuse, and suicide." He also points out that LGBT youth are 2-4 times more likely to attempt suicide compared to their straight peers. Did you know that 40% of homeless youth are LGBT and the number one reason is family rejection? As a gay, Christ following teacher, how can I not keep myself aware of such important issues impacting the lives of my students?
I offer this post primarily as a challenge to all who read it. Check out Dr. Holt's website, follow him on Twitter, and be sensitive and aware of those around you who may be struggling with issues related to their sexuality, be it acceptance, health, bullying or suicide. You don't have to be an expert on the topic. In fact, if you do nothing but make the following information available to those with whom you come in contact, you may save a life or become a purveyor of hope yourself.
The Trevor Lifeline: 866-488-7386
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK