October 11th was National Coming Out Day. This day celebrates and supports those who come out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ). For many LBGTQ teens, the coming out process can be very stressful, making tobacco use more likely. Being a teen is stressful enough, but being LGBTQ makes it so much more angst provoking. This stress could lead to unhealthy habits such as smoking. Some of the triggers that could lead LGBTQ teens to smoke are the fear of being kicked out of their homes, lack of feeling like they fit in anywhere, homophobia in society, and peer hatred.
It isn’t always easy to be LBGTQ and tobacco-free. This is why the teens of the FACT Movement continue to step up, raise awareness, and spread the truth about tobacco!
FACT is Wisconsin’s youth tobacco prevention program. It’s managed by the American Lung Association and coordinated locally by the City of Milwaukee Tobacco-Free Alliance. Our Glee Club and FACT group at Alliance High School is working hard to educate our community about tobacco-related health inequity by conducting activities called FACTivisms. For example, our group did the cigarette butt clean-up at Milwaukee PrideFest. Within five minutes into the clean-up, we had three full bags of discarded cigarette butts. This is proof that cigarette addiction is prevalent in the LGBTQ community.
Our goal is to educate our community so everyone has an opportunity to live a healthy life, free of tobacco-related illness. Want to learn more about FACT? Just visit FACTmovement.org and learn about all the cool things we do!