LGBTQ Youth Face Unique Barriers to Accessing Youth Mentoring Programs

By Christy Mallory, Brad Sears, Amira Hasenbush, Alexandra Susman
January 2014

mentor graphOver three million LGBTQ youth in the United States could benefit from access to youth mentoring programs. Research shows that LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in the juvenile justice system, which may be due, in part, to selective enforcement of criminal laws against them.

They also experience higher rates of family rejection, school harassment and bullying, homelessness, and a host of other factors related to their identity that put them at increased risk of involvement with the system. Youth mentoring organizations are designed to address the challenges at-risk youth face in their daily lives, but there is evidence showing that some organizations are unwelcoming of LGBTQ youth, and discriminate against them when they try to seek services.

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