We write this letter to LGBTQIA2S+ kids and youth to express deep gratitude that you exist, because our world would be incomplete without you. We honor the richness of your authenticity and openly proclaim that you are perfect exactly as you are. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
This greatest accomplishment is often born, however, from a place of struggle. It may be a struggle to feel understood, to feel safe, to feel hopeful, and to even imagine a future in which the freedom to be yourself is possible.
During this Pride Month, we want to tell you that you deserve to feel joy, to breathe, and to be unequivocally and undeniably who you are. You deserve to do the ordinary things in life like going to school, wearing clothes that make you feel happy, and playing sports. You deserve the essential things like being seen and having the story of your life validated as a precious and irrefutable truth.
We want to tell you that it is okay to hope that it gets better. As you grow up, and you will grow up, the people around you will learn things from you – lessons that you collected from your journey of running against the current. As you grow up, and you will grow up, people will be able to be more open to their own truths because you modeled unwavering commitment to being yourself.
During this Pride Month, we write to you on behalf of an expansive community of social workers that you have not even met. We see you, we celebrate you, and we will not give up on making the world better for you.
- Help Starts Here Resources for LGBTQIA2S+ people
- NASW Social Work Talks Podcast – Supporting LGBTQ Youth
- NASW was one of the first major mental health organizations to condemn conversion therapy