Category Archives: Social Issues

Bullying and Suicide

cmimg_74970Bullying is an extremely complicated — and emotional topic. There is some conflicting evidence out there and it is hard to figure out what is really true about bullying. This article helps us understand some of the science and research behind bullying. This includes that those who are bullied are at higher risk for mental health problems, including suicide. And, those from minority groups such as LGBTQ youth, youth with disabilities, and from racial and ethnic minority groups are more likely to be bullied. While there has been some backlash to the topic of bullying, it is important to not lose sight of the very real and horrible impact that severe and chronic bullying can have upon youth who are already made vulnerable through being part of a targeted group. Read more at Oxford Univerisity Press’s article Youth suicide and bullying: what’s the connection?

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New Protections for California Transgender Students

While transgender students still face bullying and discrimination at school, a new measure in California may help them achieve a greater measure of equality.  Signed by Governor Brown in August, this measure will help allow transgender students to go to classes, join sports and use the bathroom that matches their gender.  This legally ends the exclusion of transgender students from classes and activities that are appropriate for them.

For more information, see these articles at: The Transgender Law Center, American Progress, The GSA Network

 

How School Climate Impacts LGBTQ Youth

A new study from New York University entitled “The Effect of Negative School Climate on Academic Outcomes for LGBT Youth and the Role of In-School Supports shows what many of us suspected:  That LGBT students have better grades, attend school more and have better self esteem when the school climate is better.  As Journalists Resource reports, the aspect that most predicted positive, healthy outcomes for LGBT youth in schools were supportive teachers and administrators.  Other predictors of good outcomes were having access to a Gay-Straight Alliance, and a curriculum that included positive images of LGBT people. 

This study helps us connect that school bullying and harassment of LGBT youth has a far reaching impact:  lower GPAs and absenteeism might decrease a student’s chances of getting into a college they want or getting a job that suits them.  It is important for our schools to be safe places for all students to learn, socialize and grow.

Read the full article here.

America’s Most Unwanted

This Thursday, May 17, 2012 at 7pm, San Francisco’s LGBT Community Center will premier the film America’s Most Unwanted.

This is a moving film about the lives and experiences of LGBTQ foster youth in California. As one of the most vulnerable and underserved populations, they also make up a much larger percentage of homeless youth than most people realize.

 

Here is information from the press release:

The film, from award-winning filmmaker Shani Heckman, reveals untold stories of homophobia in the foster care system in the country’s most gay-friendly state: California. California is also one of the first states to pass the Foster Care Achievement Act and A.B.12, which will allow foster youth access to care until age 21. For decades, policy changes have been making life better for foster youth, but as bullying campaigns across the country have shown, life needs to be improved for LGBT youth at all levels.

LGBTQ foster youth are often kicked out of their homes for identifying as LGBTQ and then enter state-sanctioned homes that treat them even worse: “75% of LGBTQI foster youth in state care had experienced physical abuse, 66% preferred to live on the streets”[1]

The panel following the screening will explore many of the issues raised in the film and allow audience members to ask specific questions about foster care and documentary filmmaking.

[1] Child Welfare League of America, CWLA, 2007.

More information: http://mostunwantedfilm.org/

415-206-9392 /fosteryouthfilm@gmail.com
twitter: @fosteryouthfilm
facebook: @fosteryouthfilm

 

 

A Wonderful Piece by the Dad of a Trans Tween

The Children’s Hospital in Boston has posted a lovely piece by a father parenting a trans girl.  In the studies showing the problems and hardships that trans youth face, we can easily lose sight of the wonderful richness and love that can arise for a family out of this experience.  No doubt, some trans youth face higher rates of many hardships such as bullying, anxiety and depression.  However, supportive families and friends can make a big difference.  And, with an open heart, a trans youth can change your life, too.


Read more at The Children’s Hospital Boston’s Blog.

National Suicide Prevention Week: “Y C.A.R.E.”?

The Trevor Project's Y CARE Suicide Prevention Tool

September 5th through 11th, 2010 marks the 36th annual National Suicide Prevention Week.

As part of this important week of raising awareness, The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ youth suicide prevention organization has launched a new tool in suicide prevention called “YCARE.” It is an easy to remember acronym to help young people use some simple steps to help save a life.  Y CARE will be featured in The Trevor Project’s materials and trainings.


Often, when faced with someone expressing suicidal feelings, people feel confused, scared and worried that if they say the wrong thing, their friend or loved one could become more suicidal.  Y CARE reminds us that the best thing we can do is take someone seriously, listen to them, and help them and help them connect with assistance.  People who are suicidal are often feeling hopeless and abandoned, according to  Jeffrey Fishberger, M.D., on-call clinician for the Trevor Lifeline.  He reminds us that “When ‘You CARE,’ you can reduce some of those feelings of hopelessness and loneliness. The implied question, ‘Y-CARE’ will help people remember that caring is the first step to saving the life of an LGBTQ youth in crisis.” (Quoted from the excellent site GLT News Now)

The Trevor Project offers trainings and information on suicide prevention as well as direct assistance to LGBTQ youth experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings.


What’s It Like for Gay Kids in Public Schools?

A great interview by NPR on “Talk of the Nation” with Judy Chiasson with the Office of Human Relations, Diversity and Equity at the Los Angeles Unified School District and Eliza Byard, the executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, also known as GLSEN.  Listen to it here.

Judy Chiasson

Two important points are made in the interview.  First is that a safe school for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students is a matter of educational equality.  LGBT students who are bullied at school miss more school than other students and often, therefore, miss out on important educational opportunities.    The other point is that not all LGBT students require the same level of service.  This is important because it emphasizes that being LGBT in itself is not a cause for intervention and resources.  Problems arise from a non-supportive home or school environment and from the homophobic culture that we all live in.  Youth who have supportive families, teachers and friends may only need assistance in clarifying their needs or identity, if that.  Other  youth may struggle with discrimination on different levels.

NPR does a good job of outlining the most important aspects of the youth experience and how some schools and organizations go about making a safer, more equal environment for all youth.