LGBTQI+

Young people have the right to define their own sexuality and should be supported in the decisions they make about their own sexuality.

Many young people experience homophobia (the fear and hatred of those who love and sexually desire those of the same sex.)[1] and transphobia (the fear, hatred, disgust and discrimination of transgendered people because of their non-conforming gender status)[2], which have significant impacts on their health and wellbeing.

It’s the responsibility of all people who work with young people to ensure services are supportive of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and/or Queer (GLBTIQ) young people. People who work with young people should have an understanding of young people’s individual construction of identity and work to ensure they are supported through this process.

Some tips for workers to assist young people who identify as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and / or Queer (GLBTIQ)

This section was developed in collaboration with the Youth Sexuality and Gender Diversity Network.

What’s in a label?

If in doubt, don’t use a label. Take the lead from the young person.  Don’t assume or impose a label or stereotype. As the acronym “GLBTIQ” suggests, this is a diverse group of people with a wide range of issues.

Tips for working with young people

Some things people working with GLBTIQ young people can do to help reduce isolation and fear include:

  • Be aware of issues that affect young GLBTIQ people, such as the complexities of gender, sex and sexuality as well as broader social (family, friends, religious, etc.) and psychological issues.
  • Be careful of the language that you use. Do not encourage or condone the use of phrases such as ‘that is gay’, even if they are not intended to be insulting.
  • Listen to the concerns of the young person. Be conscious of your own assumptions regarding sexuality and gender, be willing to challenge your own assumptions and don’t pass judgment because of these views. Acknowledge the limits of your knowledge / expertise / ability to provide support and seek further education or training to re-dress these.
  • Do not say ‘it is just a phase’ or that everything will necessarily be all right, as these may create false hopes.
  • Have information available for young GLBTIQ people that they can read, or be able to refer them to appropriate services or resources.
  • Create environments where homophobia is not condoned and young GLBTIQ people feel safe, such as becoming a ‘safe space’. For more information visit: www.advocatesforyouth.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=496&Itemid=177.

Points to consider in developing a GLBTIQ friendly service:

Does the service/program…

  • Have anti-homophobia posters?
  • Stop staff and young people when they use GLBTIQ derogatory words?
  • Provide information specifically for young GLBTIQ people?
  • Provide diverse safe sex information?
     
  • If you provide free condoms, do you provide lubrication for each condom, and dental dams as well?
  • Have the ability to refer young people to appropriate services that are specifically for, or sensitive to, the needs of GLBTIQ young people?
  • Have ‘safe place’ recognition?
  • Does organisational policy and procedures that recognise the needs and diversity of GLBTIQ people?
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