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Any Which Way You Go:
Exploring Our Relationships To Human Sexuality And Gender Identity
Now more than ever before, young people are identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning or something other than cisgender and/or heterosexual. In order to best serve LGBTQ+ youth and young adults and meet their unique needs, it is imperative that human service providers, educators, and supportive adults begin to understand how gender and sexuality are evolving. It is equally as important that they understand the connection between adopting an evolving framework of gender and sexuality and the improvement of educational and social outcomes for LGBTQ+ youth in their classrooms and programs.
Creating Safer And Inclusive Environments for LGBTQ+ Youth
In his 2016 op-ed for The Guardian, journalist and activist Tiq Milan purported that the increased visibility of transgender celebrities did not and will not necessitate safety for all trans people. He further posited that a ‘trans backlash’, or spike in violence towards transgender people, would ensue if the focus of movement work didn’t shift from celebrity to justice and liberation.
Unfortunately, Tiq’s forecasting proved to be true for both transgender folks as well as other members of the LGBTQIA+ community. There has been a pronounced increase of verbal and physical assaults on LGBTQIA+ people, including youth and young adults, in communities across the nation—even in seemingly progressive metropolitan areas like New York City.
As such, it is imperative youth service providers recognize their responsibility in cultivating safer spaces, or environments that are intentional in healing the harm experienced by LGBTQIA+ youth through education and empowerment.