Growing Up Hayden


We’ve named our blog, Growing Up Hayden because we feel it’s a testament to what it is to live in the now, in a world where the LGBT community is fighting for acceptance and equality.  Our content is focused on all aspects of what it is to live, love and thrive in what’s still a very judgmental world.  Growing Up Hayden is a live narrative that we hope will continue to illustrate positive changes and a more and more loving, open and welcoming world.

The Connection Between Social Policy & Mental Health

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death in the United States for people aged ten to twenty-four.  The Trevor Project, an organization that works to prevent suicide among LGBT youth, states that young lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) youth are particularly affected, attempting suicide at four times the rate of straight youth.

Julia Raifman is a study leader and a postdoctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Raifman and her team analyzed thirty-two of the thirty-five states that legalized same-sex marriage between 2004 and 2015, before the Supreme Court legalized it nationwide.

Raifman’s research found that suicide attempts by high school students decreased by seven percent in states after they passed laws to legalize same-sex marriage.  Among LGB high school students, the decrease was especially significant, with suicide attempts falling by fourteen percent. But in states that did not legalize same-sex marriage, there was no change.

Raifman told the NewsHour she was interested in studying same-sex marriage laws “as a marker of equal rights in general,” adding that other laws that pertain to LGBT rights, such as employment and housing protections, still vary widely around the country.

The study noted that the laws themselves reflected larger social trends toward support for the LGBT community, a possible factor in the fall in suicide attempts. Raifman said that the decrease was especially concentrated around the time that same-sex marriage laws passed. It is possible that the laws “communicated to young LGB populations that they were equal, and that improved their mental health,” Raifman said. “It’s also possible that increased visibility for same-sex marriage, both in politics and media coverage, increased LGB adolescents’ sense of social support,” she said.

A study published in Pediatrics in 2011, stated that LGB youths were twenty percent more likely to attempt suicide if they were living in unsupportive environments. Raifman said the study suggested a lot of ideas for further research on how different environments can add to, or detract from, the risk for suicide.

“Regardless of political views, I think everyone can agree that reducing adolescent suicide attempts is a good thing,” she said.

The results give more context to the potential effects of social policy on mental health.

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Better Together

Better Together

As I was walking through the mall to one of my favorite stores, Lush Cosmetics, I noticed a poster in their window. It was a same-sex couple simply relaxing in a warm, bubble bath. They’re grinning, laughing, and making makeshift bubble beards. I did a double take. Yes, I have seen more and more LGBTQ couples being featured in advertising but this was different. It was simple and normal. And it was the only ad in the window. It wasn’t like the company felt they had to include the “token” LGBTQ couple in their advertising.

Lush Cosmetics’ 2017 Valentine’s Day campaign is titled #BetterTogether. Christopher Rosa for Glamour Magazine said this campaign is, “so cute—and feels so normal.”  Rosa went on to say, “Queer couples take baths together just like straight couples.  We like bubbles!  And bath salts!  And sometimes we kiss our partners in said bubble baths!  Lush gets this, which is why it simply features same-sex couples in this campaign—as opposed to sensationalizing them.  And Lush didn’t make a big deal out of this, either.  There was no splashy press release…The brand simply chose to present queer couples as normal people who take baths—which is what we are.”

What are some of your favorite LGBTQ ads?

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Texas Passes Trans Bathroom Bill

On March 14th Texas passed its own version of North Carolina’s infamous HB6, with a 21-10 vote.  The bill was introduced by Lt Governor Dan Patrick and requires trans people to ‘disassociate’ from their gender identity and use bathrooms which match up with their biological gender.  Patrick insists this is to prevent sexual predators from entering women’s bathrooms.  Senators debated the bill for four and a half hours.   Hope remains that the bill will not to be sent to the House of Representatives, thanks to House Speaker, Straus.  Straus says Texas needs to ‘send the right signals’ if they want to keep their economic edge.  There’s nothing like resorting to putting things in terms of money in order to stronghold people to do the right thing.

Oklahoma Senator Found in Motel Room with Underage Male

Oklahoma senator, Ralph Shortey, a Republican who also happens to be married to a woman (since 2002) with children was found in a motel room with an underage male.  The Senate suspended Shortey, by taking away his parking space and office.  However, Shortey is still allowed to vote on legislation on the floor and is still being paid.

The senator is likely to face charges of soliciting prostitution of a minor, prostitution within 1,000 feet of church and transporting purpose of prostitution, but Democrats are calling for his expulsion or resignation.

Oh, Shortey was also state chairman for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.


The Shine Theory

Alexis Caught, a London-based strategist and writer, recently wrote an article advising the LGBTQ community to say goodbye to mean gays. Caught’s epiphany came in 2016 when he was attending a house party. He moved from one social circle to another and, “it became clear that each conversation was about someone else at the party, or people who hadn’t arrived yet – gossiping that the happy couple were secretly on the rocks, speculating that so-and-so with the new gym body must be on something, and rolling eyes in dismissal of someone’s promotion.”

Caught left the party early when a friend dealt the truth bomb, “You just know they’re talking about us now.”  Caught knew his friend was correct and that he needed to make a change.

The Shine Theory from Ann Friedman caught Caught’s attention. The Shine Theory stresses, “the importance of women supporting women, refusing to compete with one another, and instead celebrating their friends’ successes.  In short, if your friends don’t shine, you don’t shine, and the brighter their light shines, the more that glow will reflect upon you.”

Caught implemented The Shine Theory with his rugby team.  When the team lost, they lost together and so when they won they all won together and the victory was much sweeter.

The Shine Theory and team mentality helps everyone especially minority groups. Caught’s advice is to, “say goodbye to mean gays who don’t have your back. Become the biggest cheerleader for your friends, because when they shine, if you allow it to, their light will shine on you. It will highlight your brilliance and keep away the darkness.”

Saying goodbye to mean gays: it’s time to cheer each other on

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Jacksonville Expands Human Rights Ordinance

The Jacksonville City Council voted to expand the Human Rights Ordinance (HRO) on February 14. The bill, sponsored by Council Members Aaron Bowman, Tommy Hazouri and Jim Love, added the words sexual orientation and gender identity to the existing HRO which prohibits discrimination for public accommodations, employment and housing.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry returned the bill without a signature, making the HRO expansion law.  Amendments to the bill exempted religious organizations from complying with the order, expanded the exemption for small businesses from fifteen or fewer employees to fifty or fewer and eliminated jail time as a penalty for violating the HRO in any way.

Sarah Kate Ellis, the president and CEO of LGBTQ rights organization GLAAD, tweeted about the City Council’s vote, calling it “refreshing.”  The measure passed 12-6. While the bill is not perfect, a crowd still gathered outside City Hall after the bill was passed to celebrate.

Here is how each City Council member voted on HRO expansion:
Matt Schellenberg – No
Reggie Gaffney – Yes
Aaron Bowman – Yes
Reginald Brown – Yes
Greg Anderson – Yes
Al Ferraro – No
Samuel Newby – No
Anna Lopez Brosche – Yes
John Crescimbeni – Yes
Lori Boyer, council president – Yes
Garret Dennis -Yes
Jim Love – Yes
Joyce Morgan – Yes
Scott Wilson- Yes
Katrina Brown – Absent
Danny Becton – No
Doyle Carter – No
Bill Gulliford – No
Tommy Hazouri – Yes

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Show Me Love

Show Me Love

The Ad Council and the NFL teamed up to create the newest Love Has No Labels campaign.  The “Kiss Cam” at the Pro Bowl in Orlando Florida turned into something much bigger than the typical couples kissing.  It turned into an opportunity to highlight love’s different forms.

According to the Ad Council, the video features “real families, couples and friends across different races, religions, genders, sexualities, abilities and ages.”

Please take a moment and enjoy the video here.

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