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.

A New Anthology for LGBT Homeless Youth

Around 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ identified, some estimates state.  Many of these youth stay on the streets because shelters and group homes are far more dangerous.  Many youth report hostility and violence at group homes and foster placements.  See my previous posts on LGBTQ youth homelessness for more information and statistics.

A New Anthology on LGBTQ Homeless Youth

The blog “Gay Agenda” has posted a nice piece on Sassafras Lowrey and Jennifer Clare Burke’s new anthology for LGBT homeless youth called “Kicked Out”.   You can order the anthology from Amazon.com here.    The anthology also has a website: http://kickedoutanthology.com/ where you can read more of the stories about the youth in the book, get more information about LGBTQ homeless youth and find resources.

Let this also serve as a little encouragement, too:  LGBTQ youth who need foster placement can be helped enormously by being placed with LGBTQ friendly and knowledgeable, eligible families.  See your local social service organization to find out how to become a foster parent.

Queer Youth & Cyberbullying: Suprising Statistics

Technology can be great and we’ve all benefited from increased contact with our loved ones.   Most of the young people I work with say they like being in touch with friends and family over the internet. Facebook, Twitter and texting are an integral part of their social lives. However, cyberbullying also means that anti-LGBTQ slurs can hurt young people at any time of the day or night in the place they should be able to feel safe — at home.  And, combine this with being closeted to parents or feeling ashamed or responsible for being bullied and you have a set up for trauma.  Although it can be hard to spot, we need to look closely for all of the places that our youth can be bullied and hurt.

CNET wrote a great piece on the cyberbullying of LGBTQ youth and the surprising statistics from a recent study:

A recent Iowa State University study surveyed 444 youth ages 11 to 22, including 350 self-identified non-heterosexual subjects and 94 people who identify sympathetically with LGBT youth, often called straight allies. The study found that 54 percent of these youths report being cyberbullied within the 30-day period prior to the survey–either about their sexual identities or for their identification with LGBT people. The next highest percentage is among females, 21 percent of whom report being cyberbullied about their gender…

Read the rest of the story here

Some advice for parents of young gay men

Parenting young gay men is not always easy. Between working through your own possible issues with his identity, and figuring out how to (and if to) tell the rest of the family, you still end up with concerns. All parents wish to keep their children safe, happy and healthy. Parents want their children to do more than survive, they want them to thrive. This article addresses this and the duty of all parents to provide a supportive, safe environment:

It seems that more gay teens are coming out than there were not too many years ago.  Most gay guys are likely to wait until they are older, perhaps until after they have moved from home, started college or even a career, before they find the courage to share that important aspect of themselves with their family or (in some cases) even their friends.  In fact, a large portion of gay men never come out to one of both of their parents, something that is frequently an issue of great

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regret after a parent’s passing.  A parent need not be enthusiastic about a child’s sexual orientation, whether gay or straight or somewhere in between.  In fact, many of us would prefer to think of our children as totally non-sexual beings as long as possible.  However, a parent does need to be supportive of a child in a number of important ways.

Read the rest at Home and Family.

And, for a beautiful, uplifting essay by a mom of a young gay man, see “My Perfect Gay Son

Think Before You Speak

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