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Queer teens ‘imprisoned’ at family homes report soaring levels of depression, family violence and suicide, LGBT group says

Josh Milton May 12, 2020
Israel: LGBT filmmakers boycott film festival in solidarity with Palestine

People hold signs during a protest rally condemning recent violent acts against members of the gay community in Jerusalem, Israel. (NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Reports of suicide, depression and family violence among LGBT+ teens have rocketed since the coronavirus pandemic began in Israel, according to queer rights group Israel Gay Youth.

Speaking to radio network Army Radio, the organisation said that it has received a 27 per cent rise in reports of suicide, depression and domestic violence among queer youth.

The surge, it said, comes as countless queer teens are “imprisoned” in their family homes, not all of which are wellsprings of acceptance, in a worrying trend of LGBT+ youth trapped in unsafe homes due to stay-at-home orders.

LGBT+ teens in Israel trapped in ‘prisons’ with homophobic family members, activists say. 

Ofer Neumann, CEO of Israel Gay Youth, said, according to the Jerusalem Post: “We entered three months in which youth were stuck at home.

“When the family is good, accepting and inclusive. It’s all well and good.

“But when the family gets mad and violent who ignores needs, identity and wants of the child – then the house is a prison.”

Neumann explained that the reports that Israel Gay Youth has received from distressed youth have been as young as 13-years-old.

Queer teens are unable to leave their rooms or even call pals, LGBT+ rights group claims. 

Many of these queer teens, Neumann said, were stonewalled by their guardians from the outside world. The guise of coronavirus emergency protections used to punish them.

Teens were unable to leave their rooms and couldn’t speak to friends on the phone. Israel Gay Youth organisers hoped to make their social functions more accessible by jumping to Zoom, a video uplink tool.

“In many cases, this worked and was successful,” Neumann described.

“But in many cases, we heard on hotlines and more discrete discussions that even that wasn’t possible because parents checked phones and computers.

“It got to a situation where they were cut off from every accepting and inclusive piece of life that a youth can receive.”

Moreover, Neumann noted that many of the calls he received where from LGBT+ Arabs and Haredis, yet stressed that no community is free of homophobia.

Suicide is preventable. Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact Samaritans on 116 123, or Mind on 0300 123 3393.

Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.

Readers in Israel are encouraged to call ERAN on 1201, or SAHAR (Hebrew and Arabic chatlines available).

More: Coronavirus, Coronavirus lockdown, Israel, israel gay youth, lgbt youth, mental health

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