Nearly 3 percent of adolescents identify as transgender or gender non-conforming.

Creating Supportive Schools, Homes, and Communities for LBGTQ Youth

Nearly 3 percent of adolescents identify as transgender or gender non-conforming.

A free community forum takes place Tuesday, March 13 to address how adults can support and care for LGBTQ young people.

Local LGBTQ advocacy groups are joining together to host a panel discussion called “Creating Supportive Schools, Homes and Communities for LGBTQ Youth” to address how adults can support and care for LGBTQ young people, including those who may currently be questioning their sexual or gender identity, or who keep that identity hidden.

This event will take place on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at 6 p.m. at First Congregational United Church of Christ, 20 Oak Street in downtown Asheville.

The panel will feature Dr. Todd Rosendahl, Director of Youth Policy for Equality NC and Time Out Youth Center in Charlotte, who has trained thousands of K-12 educators on creating more welcoming schools for LGBTQ youth. The Campaign for Southern Equality, Equality NC, Youth OUTRight, Tranzmission, and the Blue Ridge Pride Center are hosting the event.

Panelists include:

  • Todd Rosendahl, Time Out Youth and Equality NC
  • JaNesha Slaughter, Asheville Writers in the Schools
  • Libby Kyles, Youth Transformed for Life
  • Adrian Parra, Youth OUTright
  • Jenny Vial, Buncombe Partnership for Children
  • Melissa Wilson, School-based counselor and therapist
  • Allison Scott, Campaign for Southern Equality (moderator)

This free event is open to the public and intended for anyone who works with children and youth. There will be time for questions from community members.

Coupled with the passage of HB2 and then HB142 at the state level, a string of policy shifts on transgender rights by the federal government has left many parents and educators concerned for the welfare of their children. The Department of Education recently announced it would no longer investigate or support the civil rights claims of transgender students who seek to use restrooms that fit their gender identity.

A 2016 survey by the Williams Institute found that in North Carolina, nearly 45,000 adults identify as transgender, or 0.6 percent of the population. A more recent study by the University of Minnesota found that nearly 3 percent of adolescents identify as transgender or gender non-conforming—a rate five times higher than that of adults.

“Young people are very attuned to what the world thinks of them,” says Craig White, Supportive Schools Coordinator for the Campaign for Southern Equality. “Research shows that health outcomes for LGBTQ youth, such as depression, substance abuse, and suicide, are directly related to the introduction and passing of anti-gay and anti-transgender legislation. Every school, every home, and every community should give every child the message that they are safe, respected and loved for exactly who they are.”

Based in Asheville, the Campaign for Southern Equality is a non-profit organization that advocates for full LGBTQ equality across the South. For more details, please visit southernequality.org.

 

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