Tag Archives: teens

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

 

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.

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

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.