Website, hashtag to support kids questioning their sexual orientation
State Secretary Paul Blokhuis of Public Health wants to break through the taboo among young people on talking about their sexual orientation. To do so he launched a hashtag and renewed a website where children unsure about their sexual identity can discuss it with other people from the LGBTQ community.
Young people who think that they may be gay, lesbian, bisexual, non-binary or transgender are four to five times more likely to consider suicide than their heterosexual peers. It is therefore very important to talk about this and make sure kids understand that that it is okay not to be sure, according to the State Secretary.
"By talking about your search and uncertainties while discovering your sexual orientation, we can save lives. Young people who discover that they may not be heterosexual may feel they don't belong. We can make it easier for young people struggling with this by talking to each other about it", Blokhuis said. "That way you prevent negative thoughts and action can be taken faster if, for example, there are suicidal thoughts."
With the hashtag #kweetnie - 'I don't know' in English - Blokhuis wants to reach young people on social media with the message that it is okay to doubt your sexual orientation. Using that hashtag, influencers such as Jessie Maya and Rutger Vink will tell their story and talk to young people about how it is okay to still be figuring out who you are and what you are feeling.
The website on sexual orientation has also been updated with personal stories about what it is like to look for your sexually orientation. The site offers factual and understanding information. On this platform, young people can anonymously share their experiences, without fear of being condemned or judged. The site also contains tips, information and stories from other people from the LGBTQ community, to help young people recognize and accept themselves for who they are and realize that they are not alone.
The renewed website also contains a section for parents, where they can find tips on how to start a conversation with their child and support their child.