Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth face tremendous and unique challenges in societies that privilege heterosexuality while oppressing other sexual identities and expressions. to identify (or to be identified) as LGBTQ is to be marked as deviant and unnatural, and to be marginalized and even harassed. We ask; have you witnessed LGBTQ inequality? If so, how does it make you feel? How do you react?
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth face tremendous and unique challenges in societies that privilege heterosexuality while oppressing other sexual identities and expressions. Within such cultures, to identify (or to be identified) as LGBTQ is to be marked as deviant and unnatural, and to be marginalized and even harassed.
Research suggests that homophobia, transphobia and heterosexism contribute negatively to the health outcomes of LGBTQ youth, including their mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being. This also includes evidence of “higher rates of suicide, violence victimization, risk behavior for HIV infection, and substance abuse” among LGBT youth as compared to their heterosexual peers.
As members of multiple minority groups, LGBTQ youth of color face additional challenges in societies which often accept heterosexuality as the only sexual orientation and in which nonwhites have disproportionate rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV.
In countries around the world, especially where there are laws prohibiting homosexuality and which accept only a strict binary understanding of gender and gender expression, LGBTQ youth struggle to find safe spaces where they can find support and resources that can help them answer questions, access certain physical and mental health services, and improve cultural dialogue around LGBTQ issues. Below are a number of resources for LGBTQ Youth.
- Advocates for Youth‘s “Youth Resource” is a “website by and for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people, that takes a holistic approach to sexual health and the concerns of queer people.”
- Amplify’s “International Profiles” Page
- AmbienteJoven.org is a site by and for Spanish-speaking youth.
- The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) LGBT Youth Health website.
- Mental Health In America‘s webpage on “Bullying and Gay Youth“
Discussion Prompt: Have you witnessed LGBTQ inequality or discrimination in your community? If so, how does it make you feel? How do you react?
Coming up in the next few weeks: Health issues surrounding young men who have sex with men (YMSM) and young women who have sex with women (YWSW).
Some of the above information is drawn from Advocates for Youth’s “GLBTQ Issues” website and Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (GLBTQ) Youth Fact Sheet.