LGBTQ+ youth deserve to know that they are loved and valued, that they matter, and that they are not alone. This is true every single day of the year, and this June in honor of Pride month, we want to take special care to remind our community that LGBTQ+ youth need reliable adults and allies in their lives who can help create experiences of safety and support young people in building healthy relationships.
In this past year we have continued to see how the COVID-19 pandemic, police brutality, and an alarming number of anti-trans pieces of legislation have had profoundly harmful impacts on the LGBTQ+ community, especially for those who identify as trans and non-binary and BIPOC. When thinking about some of the unique experiences of LGBTQ+ young people, we need to also recognize the fact that in addition to these violent realities, home is often unsafe and many LGBTQ+ youth are rejected by their families of origin and forced into homelessness (10% of youth identify as LGBTQ, yet LGBTQ youth make up 40-50% of youth who are houseless).
As adults who aspire to be allies of LGBTQ+ youth, we may not be able to change negative experiences at home, but we can let young people know that we are always available to talk and support them. It is important to be knowledgeable about resources like The Trevor Project and to help guide youth towards spaces that empower them to be themselves and know their worth (such as a school GSA or The Venture Out program). It is especially important to affirm youth’s identities and remind Queer and Trans youth that they do not deserve to experience violence from family, friends, and dating partners.
Adults can also seek to increase their knowledge and skills to be active allies and advocates for LGBTQ+ youth and interrupt violence to create safe and healthy relationships in our community. Safe Passage’s Say Something Prevention LAB is a resource for adults to gain knowledge and practice skills that are effective to prevent and interrupt violence. During LABs, we explore how gender, sexuality, and other identities affect our experiences of violence and how we can all Say Something to create a safer community. If you are interested in joining us for our community LABs (our next session begins in August 2021) sign up here!
Want more information about supporting LGBTQ+ youth? Here are some other local resources to support and empower youth to create healthy connections:
Simple tips for parents and caregivers:
Local Resources for LGBTQ+ Youth
- The Say Something Youth Initiative
- Safe Passage’s violence prevention program for teens designed to meet the unique needs and strengths of the youth in our local community, especially LGBTQ+ young people. By participating in Say Something Youth Initiative, young people will gain increased confidence to build healthy relationships during the Say Something Youth Initiative’s skill-based violence prevention series. Throughout the series, participants will learn to set boundaries, understand consent, gain emotional regulation skills, and begin to explore how aspects of our identities can affect our experiences of violence. Say Something Youth Initiative is currently offered to all 9th and 10th grade students at Easthampton High School through a grant partnership with Community Action Youth Programs and Easthampton High School’s Diveryisty, Inclusion, and Belonging Center. Safe Passage will be offering Say Something Youth Initiative LABs for young people in our community soon! If you are interested in signing up to learn more about Say Something Youth Initiative’s Community LABs visit our website for more information.
- Community Action: Gen Q
- TransHealth Northampton
- Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth: LGBTQ Resource Map
- Cooley Dickinson: LGBTQ Care
- Stonewall Center: Western Mass Trans Resource Guide