Tag Archives: Resources

Gender & Sexuality 101 – A Helpful New Guide

So often I speak with teachers, therapists, and other allies who want to be of assistance but are stymied by the terminology — especially about the difference between gender and sexual orientation.  They’re often practically desperate to ask about these things so they can interact with LGBTQ folks in a helpful way, or at least without being offensive!

Transgender? LGBTQQAI??

Language around issues of gender and sexuality can have real impact.  Many times people stifle conversation for fear of saying the wrong thing.

Caryn B. Oppenheim, with support from Safe Schools Coalition, has produced a great new guide that can help teachers, schools, gay straight-alliances, college groups and many others answer some of these questions and problems.  With sections on “Fluidity, Categorization, and Vocabulary”, “Coming Out”, “Language and Homophobia”, “Intersections of Identity”, “Testimonies” and “International Perspectives” it should really help you feel more “in the know” as you work in your community.  Whether you’re a parent, trying to help your child’s school get more educated about LGBTQ issues, or a gay therapist new to the terminology around gender, this guide will go a long way toward creating some shared language — maybe helping us all understand a little more.

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Queer Rock Camp!

Sick of hearing homophobic lyrics on the radio?  Are you already in a band or starting to learn?  Or, maybe you just want to be a rock star…

The terrific blog, OutImpact, has highlighted a great new summer camp:  Queer Rock Camp.  For LGBTQIA youth ages 12 – 21, this tuition-free camp aims to empower youth by ” building confidence, fostering and strengthening peer alliances and dismantling gender binaries.”

From queer youth film programs to queer youth dance programs, the arts have long been a way to help LGBTQIA youth express who they are, meet supportive peers and adults, and gain access to a creative voice that helps fight the impact of homophobia and bullying.  Following in this tradition, the Queer Rock Camp will allow students to learn and hone musical skills and add something new and fresh to the rock genre.

Right now, the Queer Rock Camp is accessible to all youth by being tuition-free.  Thus, it is in need of donations — both monetary and equipment.  Monetary donations can be made online at StonewallYouth.org, by specifying “Queer Rock Camp” in the designation section.  They can provide their EIN number for tax deduction upon request.  Equipment donations can be made by contacting Molly at queerrockcamp@gmail.com.

Read more at OutImpact.com: http://www.outimpact.com/entertainment/music-entertainment/queer-rock-camp-stonewall-youth-empowering-youth-music/#ixzz1H6axFDNC

 

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.


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.

Eating Disorders and Gay Men: One Man’s Story

In honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, February 21 – 27, 2010, we’re focusing on LGBTQ youth and eating disorders:

Eating Disorders and Gay Men

Eating disorders amongst men are rarely studied or talked about.  For many gay men, this makes it all the more difficult to identify and seek assistance for a growing program.  When they do, they often feel ashamed. Sparse information leaves professionals attempting to treat men — often ineffectively — with approaches that are appropriate for women.  Filmmaker Travis Matthews tells his story at The National Eating Disorders Association.  His movie  Do I Look Fat? has been screened at colleges and universities, health centers and has received acclaim at a number of film festivals.  His site also offers resources and information on the issue of gay men and eating disorders. It includes an interview with Ted Weltzin, M.D., the Medical Director of the Eating Disorders Center, a residential facility for treating eating disorders in men and women.  It is one of the only centers that treat men with eating disorders in the country.

Gay, bisexual teens at risk for eating disorders

In honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, February 21 – 27, 2010, we’re focusing on LGBTQ youth and eating disorders:

From Reuters Health:

Amy Norton Thu Sep 17, 2009 4:21pm EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Gay, lesbian and bisexual teenagers may be at higher risk of binge-eating and purging than their heterosexual peers, starting as early as age 12, a new study finds.

Past research has found connections between sexual orientation and the risk of eating disorders in adults — showing, for instance, that gay men have higher rates of symptoms than their heterosexual counterparts.

Less has been known about how sexual orientation affects teenagers’ risks of various eating disorders.

For the new study, researchers at Harvard University and Children’s Hospital Boston used data from a U.S. survey of nearly 14,000 12- to 23-year-olds to look at the relationship between sexual orientation and binge-eating and purging.

They found heightened rates of binge-eating among both males and females who identified themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual or “mostly heterosexual.”

Purging, by vomiting or abusing laxatives, was also more common among these teens, the researchers report in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

“We found clear and concerning signs of higher rates of eating disorder symptoms in sexual-minority youth compared to their heterosexual peers even at ages as young as 12, 13 or 14 years old,” lead researcher S. Bryn Austin, an assistant professor of pediatrics, told Reuters Health in an email.

Among females, lesbian, bisexual and mostly heterosexual respondents were all about twice as likely as their heterosexual counterparts to report binge-eating at least once per month in the past year.

Bisexual and mostly heterosexual girls and women were also more likely to say they had purged in the past year in order to control their weight.

Among males, the highest risks were seen among homosexuals — who were seven times more likely to report bingeing and nearly 12 times more likely to report purging than heterosexual males.

Bisexual and mostly heterosexual boys and men also had elevated risks of both problems — with rates anywhere from three to seven times higher than those of their heterosexual counterparts.

The survey data do not offer a potential reason for the findings, but past studies give some insight, according to the researchers.

“We know that gay, lesbian, and other sexual-minority kids are often under a lot of pressure,” Austin said, noting that these teens are often “treated like outsiders” in their own families and schools, and may be excluded, harassed or victimized by bullies.

“This kind of isolation and victimization can take its toll on a young person,” Austin explained, “and one of ways it can play out is in vulnerability to eating-disorder symptoms and a host of other stress-related health problems.”

She added that because negative attitudes and discrimination against sexual minorities are still pervasive in society, families need to be a source of support.

It is “incredibly important,” Austin said, “for parents and other family members to reach out and make sure these youth know they are loved and supported, that they can count on their families to stay by their side.”

SOURCE: Journal of Adolescent Health, September 2009.

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See the original story

Want to learn more about eating disorders and LGBTQ youth?   On January 12, 2010 the National Youth Advocacy Coalition (NYAC) invites LGBQT youth service providers and educators to learn more about the unique ways eating disorders affect Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer and Transgender youth. Click here to register for free, and submit your questions in advance.

Creating a Safe Place for Youth

The national organization, SafePlace works with communities and neighborhoods to create safe places for kids at risk.  Signs placed a restaurants, buses, youth centers, recreation centers and more indicate to young people that this is a safe place to go when in crisis.  They can request help from an employee at the designated safe place who will contact SafePlace.  A SafePlace staff person or volunteer will meet the young person and help them find help and resources.

SafePlace works with all youth and youth issues and can help in setting up safe spaces for LGBTQ youth to find help.  Bullying, harassment and homelessness hit all youth and impact LGBTQ youth particularly hard.  Efforts to create safe spaces for youth must include youth seeking help with sexual or gender orientation.

The Ames Tribune printed an excellent article on the effectiveness of safe space in schools in reducing harassment and bullying of LGBTQ youth in schools.

What is important about this is that it doesn’t take large amounts of money or time to set up a safe place in your community.  Simply indicating to youth that you or your organization is a place to go to obtain help gives youth a way to obtain help that they may not be able to access at home.  This is grassroots assistance at its best.  Visit SafePlace’s website for more information on setting up safe spaces for all youth in your community.  See GLSEN for information on safe space in schools for LGBTQ youth specifically.  See their “safe space kit” to get started.