Let’s Talk About the Current LGBTQIA+ Legal Landscape
Ryan Roemerman serves as the Executive Director of the LGBTQ Institute at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Ashlei Rabess, M.A., LAPC, NCC is a third-year doctoral student in the Counselor Education and Practice program at GSU.
Together, they will cover the current legal landscape, including the recent Supreme Court ruling, suicide rates, and other statistics, advocacy tools, e.g. getting a child’s records changed.
- The recent Supreme Court ruling:
- In June 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed that LGBTQ workers are protected from discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — a landmark decision.
LGBTQ Institute Southern Survey: https://www.lgbtqsouthernsurvey.org/
Suicide rates, and other statistics:
https://www.hrc.org/resources/2018-lgbtq-youth-report (In 2017, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation partnered with researchers at the University of Connecticut to deploy a comprehensive survey capturing the experiences of LGBTQ youth in their family settings, schools, social circles and communities. Over 12,000 youth aged 13-17 participated in the survey, with representation from all 50 states and the District of Columbia):
- Seventy-seven percent of LGBTQ teenagers surveyed report feeling depressed or down over the past week;
- Ninety-five percent of LGBTQ youth report trouble sleeping at night;
- LGBTQ youth of color and transgender teenagers experience unique challenges and elevated stress — only 11 percent of youth of color surveyed believe their racial or ethnic group is regarded positively in the U.S., and over 50 percent of trans and gender expansive youth said they can never use school restrooms that align with their gender identity;
- More than 70 percent report feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness in the past week;
- Only 26 percent say they always feel safe in their school classrooms — and just five percent say all of their teachers and school staff are supportive of LGBTQ people;
- Sixty-seven percent report that they’ve heard family members make negative comments about LGBTQ people.
- Socio-emotional support for LGBTQ youth
- Micro-level (i.e., each individual child): catering to individual needs
- Always respond to them in an affirming, supportive way.
- Respect their privacy; allow them to come out on their own time and to whom they choose.
- Use gender-neutral language when talking about people and relationships. (e.g., Instead of “Do you have a girlfriend”, ask “Is there anyone special in your life?”)
- Support their self-expression through clothing, jewelry, hairstyle, room decoration, friends, appropriate romantic partners, etc.
- Use their preferred name and pronouns.
- Understand that their identities may change over time and that this doesn’t negate their identification with the LGBTQ communities.
- Mezzo-level (i.e., small systems like family and school):
- Make it clear that jokes about gender identity and/or sexual orientation are not tolerated in your home or in your presence. Immediately express your disapproval of all jokes coming from family members and even shows or movies witnessed by the family.
- Require that other family and community members use their preferred name and pronouns.
- Provide access to and support of a variety of books, movies, TV shows, and other materials, including those that positively represent the identities of your youth.
- Macro-level (i.e., large systems like community and society):
- Connect with LGBTQ affirming organizations for relevant resources and events.
- Seek out LGBTQ affirming healthcare providers (e.g., doctors, mental health professionals, etc.).
- Consider seeking an adult LGBTQ role model, if possible.
- Even where it doesn’t directly concern your youth, work to create a culture of acceptance and nurturance of LGBTQ youth in the larger society.
- Advocacy tools (e.g. getting a child’s records changed)
Learn more about upcoming Town Squares and nominate a speaker here!