This pdf from Advocates for Youth is a handy guide for creating safe space for GLBTQ youth. These youth face all types of harassment and challenges. Research shows that homophobia and heterosexism greatly contribute to GLBTQ youth’s high rates of attempted and completed suicide, violence victimization, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, and HIV associated risky behaviors. This toolkit discusses some of the tremendous difficulties GLBTQ youth face today, as well as how people can help create areas where GLBTQ youth can feel comfortable being themselves and not facing any type of discrimination. It also contains several lesson plans to allow individuals to teach this information so that society can better understand the challenges these people face and how to respect them.
- Positive community support and role models for GLBTQ adolescents are minimal, and many adults fear discrimination, job loss, and abuse if they openly support GLBT youth.
- GLBT youth often internalize negative societal messages regarding sexual orientation and suffer from self-hatred as well as from social and emotional isolation. They may use substances to manage stigma and shame, to deny same-sex sexual feelings, and/or as a defense against ridicule and violence.
- In a recent survey, 33 percent of gay, lesbian, and bisexual high school students reported attempting suicide in the previous year, compared to eight percent of their heterosexual peers; 14 in another study, gay and bisexual males were nearly four times more likely to attempt suicide than were their straight peers.
Citation: Girl’s Best Friend Foundation, A. F. Y. (2005). Creating Safe Space for GLBTQ Youth: A Toolkit.