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All young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential.”

All young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential.” – Harvey Milk

Powerful words. And at PFLAG, we know firsthand how true they are are: Family rejection of LGBTQ youth is directly linked to serious risk of physical and behavioral health problems, including drug use, risk of contracting HIV and STDs, depression, homelessness, and — devastatingly — self harm.

In fact, LGBT young adults who reported having rejecting families are 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide compared with peers from families that reported no or low levels of family rejection.

But there is hope: Even a little change in how families respond to their LGBTQ children can make a difference in their child’s physical health, emotional and mental well-being, and future prospects.

For nearly 45 years, PFLAG has taken aim at the root causes of rejection and discrimination, thanks to our 400+ chapters, and an army of members and supporters who counter negative messages with words of support and love, as well as crucial education, which successfully moves families from rejecting to accepting over time.

Living authentically and openly should not be a passport to a life dogged by discrimination, second-class citizenship, family rejection — or an early grave. We must continue changing hearts and minds in homes, schools, places of worship, workplaces, courtrooms, and legislatures across the country to create real, lasting change.