Have you ever had the experience where you are struggling with some indecision and the universe or God or whatever high power you believe in sends you a sign? Well, that’s what happened to me today. The weird thing was that I was in the process of getting my teeth cleaned at the dentist. I don’t know about you, but I am not one to be looking for signs while I am having the tartar scraped off my teeth, but today just goes to show that you never know when a great awakening will be right around the corner, even in the least likely of places.
I was chatting with the hygienist, or actually I was listening at first (because her hands were in my mouth). She was talking about travelling. Turns out she is a dental hygienist and a flight attendant for American Airlines. She had come off a flight from Phoenix at JFK and since her husband was going to be at work, she picked up a temp assignment at my dentist’s office … on her way home.
I didn’t even know that was a thing. What a great way to make extra money, on your way home from work… She obviously has great time management skills. But that's not the point of this post.
The hygienist took her tools out of my mouth so I could tell her what I did, and I explained how I was a life coach for parents of LGBTQIA+ kids who are having difficulty with managing their thoughts and feelings about their child's identity. This prompted her to share a recent experience.
While doing her flight attendant job, she ran into another flight attendant who was also a friend. This friend was a member of a large, religious LDS family and said that her nephew had committed suicide. After his death, it came to light that he was trying to transition in secret, and had been buying female hormones from Canada on the internet. It seems that he felt he couldn’t live as his authentic self and just couldn’t bear the reality of being transgender in his family. His brother was the one who found him.
That just broke my heart.
See, my brain has been acting up lately and making me question whether my niche is really the one for me. It was tossing out thoughts like “Maybe it’s too narrow.” “Maybe parents don’t really need this type of help.” “Who am I to think that I can help these people.” Or my brain’s recent favorite thought: “It’s just too hard and too painful to deal with this stuff. Let someone else do it.”
This story reminded me why I picked this niche in the first place, and why I feel it’s so deeply important. Even though I sometimes worry about how to find clients, or whether I can bring relevant information to my people, hearing it helped me realize I needed to coach myself.
It was the nudge I needed to be able to realize that it’s just my brain being a human brain and wanting to stay safe. I mean, just because I am a coach, doesn’t mean that my brain cooperates with me 100% of the time. Sometimes I need to call BS on my own brain and show it who's in charge.
I’m even getting a little emotional writing this and thinking about that poor young man. Sadly, the statistics demonstrate that his story is all too common. One organization which is doing amazing work to combat this is The Trevor Project. It is the largest organization in the world that is dedicated to suicide prevention and crisis intervention for LGBTQIA+ youth under the age of 25. And in case you didn’t know, this work is vital.
The Trevor Project recently released the results of its 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health. This survey involved 35,000 people aged 13-24 who identify as members of the LGBTQIA+ community in the U.S.
It found that 42% of respondents “seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and non-binary youth.” (website: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/survey-2021/ )
Again for the people in the back…. 42% seriously considered suicide…. More than ½ of trans and non-binary youth. That is a horrific number of our kids who are considering suicide as a viable option because they don't see another way of ending their pain. A major reason for that is lack of support from family.
I owe the universe a debt of gratitude today. I needed that reminder to just keep going. I have already helped some families and I know that there are more out there that I can serve. If you know a parent out there who can use my help, please let them know that I am ready and waiting to change their life, and as a result, the life of their child.
If you know someone in the LGBTQIA+ community who you think may be considering suicide, the phone number for The Trevor Project is 1-866-488-7386. They can also be reached for chat or text help at https://thetrevorproject.org