Northwest Missourian Opinion

Students in the LGBTQ community have been turning to crowdfunding websites like GoFundMe to fund their education, and they need our support.

Most students starting their life in college know what a relief something as simple as a support system can be. But many students from the LGBTQ community find that they lose this support system after coming out to their families and subsequently being disowned.

According to a report from the William’s Institute, 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. Of the homeless LGBTQ youth, 46% ran away from home due to rejection from their families, while 43% were forced out of the home by parents due to their identity.

If parents are unwilling to house or support their LGBTQ children, then they aren’t going to fund their tuition. The financial burden then falls onto the student. The struggle of balancing school and work can be difficult without the emotional support of their families.

Not only are these students struggling with paying their tuition, but they find themselves forced to face many mental and emotional challenges on their own as well.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that LGBTQ teens were six times more likely to suffer from symptoms of depression than the general population.

A report from DDS Safety Net states that benefits of having a good support system include alleviating stress, increasing a person’s feelings of self-confidence and value, and decreasing feelings of loneliness and depression.

Unfortunately, LGBTQ students that have been disowned by their parents find themselves largely without a proper support system.

Northwest states on its admissions web page that it aims to broaden equity, diversity and inclusion across campus. As Bearcats, we have a duty to meet this goal. LGBTQ students finding themselves without a support system must be able to find a new one in their peers.

One of the best ways to do so would be to support them on GoFundMe and help ease their financial burdens.

Even if one cannot donate to these causes, there are other ways that they could help. Simply spreading the word about these GoFundMe campaigns can make a difference.

According to statistics from startup.com, the most successful crowdfunding campaigns result from sharing the links on social media: 12% of Facebook shares, 3% of Twitter shares and 53% of email shares result in donations. Chances are that if one is not in the best financial situation to donate, someone else on social media is.

With so many challenges coming with going to college and trying to adjust to adult life, one less problem to worry about would do a world of good. Supporting LGBTQ students on GoFundMe, either by donating directly or sharing the link for others to donate, is the first step to providing the support system that these students need and deserve.

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