As we enter June (chasing the halfway mark of the year!) I wanted to say, “Happy Pride Month!” Here at MissingSchool, we advocate for LGBTQ+ folks’ health and wellbeing all year round. But Pride Month? That’s a super special time to cheer on and uplift the community. With that, comes a chance to reflect.
“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. Your uniqueness is your power; embrace it and let it propel you to unimaginable heights.”
– Harvey Milk
School is a formative experience in every young person’s life. Besides the formal education and social connections, school is a space for significant personal growth as kids figure themselves out and develop an understanding of their place in the world. For young LGBTQ+ people, particularly in the current generation of students, school can be a valuable place to build and understand their identity.
However, we must acknowledge that the journey isn’t always smooth. Research indicates that young LGBTQ+ people are at far greater risk of missing substantial amounts of school due to mental illness, school anxiety, or fear of social isolation. The struggles with mental health are sincere, and offering or accepting support for mental wellbeing is as impotant as support for physical wellbeing.
LGBTQ+ students who are also grappling with serious illness may experience compounded effects of school absence, disconnection, and social isolation due to their illness. These challenges coexist with those that may come with their LGBTQ+ identity and experience.
At MissingSchool, our mission is to build a world in which every child is seen and heard. This means ensuring that support is available for every young person who needs it. We value the LGBTQ+ students we support and are inspired by their resilience and the diversity they bring. The queer experience of the world provides a fundamentally unique voice, and stories at the intersection of education, queer liberation, and health and wellbeing, are very much needed.
I’d like to close this newsletter with a heartfelt message to all LGBTQ+ people in our MissingSchool community: we see you. You are valid, you are cherished, you are loved. We continue to welcome your stories, we are with you, we are listening.
There are many ways to help:
- follow along and cheer us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn
- share this newsletter with your family, friends, or colleagues so we can reach more sick kids, and
- donate towards getting a seriously sick child back into their classroom.
Every action moves us closer to the finish line: a world where every sick child is seen and heard.
Let’s keep connecting.