Provider Perspectives on the Needs of Gay and Bisexual Male and Transgender Youth of Color

By Laura E. Durso, Angeliki Kastanis, Bianca D.M. Wilson, Ilan H. Meyer
August 2013

Los Angeles-area gay, bisexual, and questioning male and transgender (GBTQ) youth of color face individual, organizational, and structural barriers to educational, health and social services. Both schools and service providers struggle to provide institutionally-supported GBTQ-friendly services. Teachers who want to increase the visibility of GBTQ youth are in need of institutional support, as they are sometimes met with negative reactions from students, parents, and other school staff.  And while some individuals within health and social service agencies were equipped to support GBTQ youth, organizations lacked institutional policies, practices or training opportunities to better serve this population.

The report’s recommendations for improving support for GBTQ youth of color include:

● Increase inclusion of GBTQ youth of color in school-based educational and after school programs, such as athletics, academic clubs, and college preparation courses.

● Connect GBTQ youth with adult LGBT role models to facilitate mentorship relationships.

● Provide training about best practices and organizational policies related to services to GBTQ youth of color in both LGBT and non-LGBT specific organizations.

● Have specific policies in place that are sensitive to the needs of transgender and gender nonconforming youth in schools and service organizations.

● Establish connections among community organizations, schools, and other stakeholders to increase opportunities for youth to access and receive needed services, ease transitions between services, and lower the risk of redundancy in service provision.

● Integrate care required for some GBTQ youth of color when they experience multiple and challenging stressors, such as homelessness, family rejection, behavioral issues, or substance use problems.

● Encourage governmental and private funders to work with service providers to develop creative funding mechanisms that address the needs of GBTQ youth of color.

The study is based on semi-structured qualitative interviews with 39 participants from 20 LA-area organizations. The study was conducted to assess, specifically, the needs of male youth of color, but many recommendations may be relevant to other LGBT populations.

Click here for the full report.

Click here for the press release.

This research was supported by a grant from the Liberty Hill Foundation.