Youth and LGBTQQ
Identity matters to some young people, and to others it doesn’t matter. For some young people who want to change the world, the question of whether they identify as youth who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer, questioning, or otherwise can be essential to their purpose, potential and power as humans. There are many ways these young people are changing the world today.
Ways Youth are Changing the World for LGBTQQ Equity
Youth as Advocates — LGBTQQ youth can stand for their own interests and the interests of others through advocacy. Political, cultural, social and educational advocacy can move governments, communities, organizations and schools to new places of acceptance, empowerment and advocacy, too.
Art for Action — Sharing identities through the Arts can be a powerful opportunity for youth to represent their commitment and belonging in the communities where they live and learn every day.
Mutual Mentorship — Building practical, purposeful and supportive relationships with adults to emphasize meaningful and healthy outcomes are essential for every young person. In places where non-traditional identities aren’t widely accepted, mutual mentorships between young people and adults can be essential to shifting individual attitudes and collective cultures.
Things Youth Need to Change the World through LGBTQQ Equity
Training — Skill-building and knowledge-sharing activities that increase the abilities of LGBTQQ youth to take action and change the world can be life-changing and community empowering. Focusing on transferable topics can build personal power and collective ability, too.
Opportunities — Creating real, meaningful and tangible opportunities to change the world through nonprofit organizations, schools, government agencies and elsewhere can engage young people in dynamic ways. Whether these are social action projects, participatory action research, advocacy or educational projects doesn’t necessarily matter as much as allowing young people to identify how they want for the reasons they want to.
Inspiration — Learning real and metaphorical stories can inspire young people to take action for LGBTQQ rights. Whether they are actual young people, stories from history or other tales, young people who have been disempowered or disengaged because of their identities can be inspired to action and community building through stories and more.
- GSA Network – Empowering youth activists to fight homophobia and transphobia in schools
- Janet Mock’s keynote speech at the 2012 LGBTQ Youth Empowerment Conference hosted by the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition
- SMYAL – Supports and empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth in the Washington, DC metropolitan region. Through youth leadership, SMYAL creates opportunities for LGBTQ youth to build self-confidence, develop critical life skills, and engage their peers and community through service and advocacy.
- Live Out Loud – Inspiring and empowering LGBT youth by connecting them with successful LGBT professionals in their community.
Other tools are out there, too – share your thoughts in the comments below! For more information about how The Freechild Project can support youth engagement in LGBTQQ issues in your community or organization, contact us.
Special thanks to Gabi Clayton for her contributions to this page!