Thursday, August 8, 2013

Study Says LGBT Youth Of Color Lack Resources, Support


Some sobering news about LBGT youth of color. A new survey of providers who work with gay, bisexual and transgender youth of color in L.A. shows many face discrimination when it comes to their race and gender at school, gang violence, bullying, and conflicts with family members, as well as a lack of resources and role models. This can leave many of them at risk for homelessness and unwilling to come out to their peers.

"'There's tons of places that take youth, but making sure they're gay-friendly and safe… I think that's still the biggest challenge," said Tamara, an LGBT outreach coordinator who took part in the survey. "I've had youth refuse to go to certain places because they felt it wasn't safe for them."

“GBTQ youth of color struggle with homelessness, poverty, family rejection and bullying,” said Ilan H. Meyer, the study’s principal investigator and Williams Institute Senior Scholar for Public Policy. “Yet, serious barriers exist to providing youth with culturally competent care.”'

Mentorship is definitely an area where we need to step up as a community. If I had someone in my community to guide me or at least up to from a distance, my teen years might not have been so chaotic and dark, and I probably would've accepted my sexuality sooner. Just having someone to look at and see firsthand gay doesn't equal miserable would have helped immeasurably. 

Though at the same time, I can see why many of us (those who aren't still struggling with their own sexuality) are reluctant to jump into that role, particularly in small-knit and/or deeply religious towns where being openly gay and outspoken can be a serious liability. 

If you grew up in a small town, or were raised up in church, you know what I'm talking about. The sanctuary is not just a place to worship, but where important employment, business and social connections are made, and if you're viewed as a living a "sinful lifestyle," folks may not be willing to lend a helping hand.

What do you think?

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