As LGBT Pride Month comes to a close for 2018, it is a great opportunity for us to honor the strength and resilience of LGBTQ+ youth, and to consider ways we can more effectively meet their needs within our programs. Check out MANY/CCHT’s Shining Light on CSEC Toolkit Module on serving LGBTQI youth, as well as True Colors Inclusion Toolkit and LGBT Youth Resources from the CDC for more information on serving LGBTQ+ youth! In addition, the Family Acceptance Project and Gender Spectrum: Parenting and Family offer best practice information and resources for working with families of LGBTQ+ youth.
In 2018, several studies were released that highlighted the strengths, needs, and experiences of LGBTQ+ youth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data Summary and Trends Report: 2007-2017 (YRBS). The YRBS report shows that LGB youth are disproportionately at risk for interpersonal violence, drug and alcohol use and poor mental health outcomes.
Also in 2018, HRC Foundation and the University of Connecticut released the largest-of-its-kind survey ever of more than 12,000 LGBTQ teenagers across the nation. The report clearly shows the persistent challenges LGBTQ+ youth face in their daily lives at home, school, and in their communities, and highlights the additional adversity experienced by youth of color and transgender youth.
Finally, the Voices of Youth Count (VoYC), recently released a brief focusing specifically on the experiences and needs of LGBTQ young people. Voices of Youth Count (VoYC) is a national initiative led by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago designed to fill gaps in the nation’s knowledge about the scope and scale of youth homelessness, as well as the life circumstances and experiences of runaway, unaccompanied homeless and unstably housed youth between the ages of 13 and 25 years old.
These targeted efforts to identify trends in the experiences of LGBTQ+ youth and to understand their holistic needs, are critically important. But they are only a launching pad for our work ahead. All of us: direct service providers, youth and young adults, researchers, national partners, funders, and allies in communities across the country have a role in improving the life trajectory of LGBTQ+ youth. So let’s do this together.
The Trevor Project is undertaking an ambitious project to better understand mental health among LGBTQ youth. With intentional data that highlights the lived experiences of our community, especially our young people, we are better able to advocate for the needs of our loved ones, families, and community at large. The Trevor Project and their research team are particularly interested in ensuring that we get responses from queer and trans people of color (QTPoC). So if you are a young person who identifies as QTPoC or know someone that is, please pass this message along.
To learn more about the survey & ways to get involved CLICK HERE!