Pride Month for LGBTQ+ Military Kids and Allies
Pride month is here!
Pride month is a time for people to gather together to show support for the LGBTQ+ community.
Being LGBTQ+ as a Military Kid
LGBTQ+ military kids can face unique challenges and opportunities.
The military has had a history of having specific policies toward LGBTQ+ people. For some military families, this has led to a lot of conversations about being LGBTQ+. For others, they avoid talking about it. This can make it feel complicated when you’re trying to figure out your own identity and experiences.
Many LGBTQ+ military kids report that moving is a mixed bag. You might find it tiring having to “come out” over and over. You might also feel some freedom in exploring how you present yourself. You can experiment with what you share with people as you live in different places.
The frequent change of military life can help teach an important lesson: most situations are temporary. If you find yourself in an unsupportive environment, you can know it will not last forever.
That doesn’t mean you need to just wait for things to get better. If you find yourself in a challenging situation, there are communities and support networks to help right now.
Friends and mentors from previous duty stations can also be a great source of support. Don’t hesitate to reach out, even if it’s been a while since you talked.
Being an Ally as a Military Kid
Chances are, you know someone who is LGBTQ+.
In Gen Z, 1 in 6 people identifies as LGBTQ+1. People are also coming out at higher rates than previous generations.2
So how can you be a supportive friend? The most important thing is to be a good listener:
- Focus on understanding. Sometimes when we listen, we get too focused on how we’re going to respond. Listen to understand.
- Ask before giving advice. If a friend talks about a problem, it’s normal to want to help them out. Sometimes advice actually shuts down a conversation. Ask if they want advice or if they just want to talk.
- Be mindful of language. We pick up terms based on habit. Sometimes these terms assume people are straight or have a certain gender, like “boyfriend” or “girlfriend.” Notice what words your friend uses and mirror them. If you’re unsure, it’s OK to ask.
Read more about LGBTQ+ Wellness on Military Kids Connect.
Learn how to help a friend you’re worried about.
Jones, J. M. (2021, April 3). LGBT Identification Rises to 5.6% in Latest U.S. Estimate. Gallup.com. https://news.gallup.com/poll/329708/lgbt-identification-rises-latest-estimate.aspx
Moskowitz, D. A., Rendina, H. J., Alvarado Avila, A., & Mustanski, B. (2021). Demographic and social factors impacting coming out as a sexual minority among Generation-Z teenage boys. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/sgd0000484