A surge of legislation in Texas is focused on the LGBTQ+ community, a group who is statistically more at risk of suffering from mental health problems.
According to Equality Texas, more than 40 bills that could affect LGBTQ+ families across the Lone Star State are up for debate in Austin.
One of those families are the Lands.
Alec Land came out to his family as transgender just this year. It's a conversation that can be scary, but with a strong support system, his dad says it was an open and easy confession.
"Having your own child come out to you makes it a lot different than just being an ally," said Lucas Land, Alec's father.
However, that fear is something Lucas now feels personally.
"To have these bills attacking parents as child abusers for trying to support their kids is, to be honest, it's really scary," he explained.
Adding to that fear is knowing the high number of LGBTQ+ youth who suffer from mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
In fact, according to youth.gov, suicide is the third leading cause of death in LGBTQ+ 15 to 24-year-olds.
"Not feeling like they can openly come out is going to make that even worse," explained Samantha Airhart-Larraga, assistant professor of psychology and counseling at Texas A&M-Central Texas. "Now we're going to have higher cases of depression, more cases of anxiety related things.”
Airhart-Larraga worries that the legislation will have a lasting effect on the youth.
"All of that follows you into adulthood, and so you're bringing a lot of that with you," she said.
Which is why Lucas believes if some of the legislation passes, children's mental health is most at risk.
"It has to be humanized so that these politicians and legislators understand that there is, there are, their real lives at risk," he ended.
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