The 2017 local Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) data tells us that our LGBTQIA+ youth need more from us. LGBTQIA+ youth experience higher rates of risk factors than their peers. 58% report feeling sad for two or more weeks in the last year. They are 2 times more likely to have been bullied within the last 30 days, 3 times more likely to have skipped school in the last 30 days because of feeling unsafe, 4.5 times more likely to have attempted suicide in the last 12 months.
On December 3rd, 2018 Healthy Lamoille Valley held a coalition meeting to learn how we can create more inclusive environments and provide these students with the support they need and deserve. Mara Iverson, Director of Education at Outright Vermont, presented and we shared resources and perspectives.
We asked Mara Iverson to share 3-4 things people can do to create safer environments for youth as well as resources for students and families.
Quick Allyship Tips
1. Use the names, pronouns, and identity labels that people ask you to use for them. If you don’t understand a word or request, feel free to ask “I will definitely do my best to use the words you ask for. I haven’t heard the word (or concept) ________ before, though. Would you tell me what it means to you?”
2. DO use visible symbols like rainbows and pink triangles on doors, cars, walls, and other easy-to-see spaces to passively message support for LGBTQ+ folks! But DO NOT post those symbols if you are unsure how you feel about supporting LGBTQ+ folks. Visible support messages build trust and sending messages without backing them up can damage trust.
3. Always learn more! No amount of getting to know LGBTQ+ people, exposing yourself to inclusive media, and trying to understand things more deeply can ever be too much.
Looking for more? Check out these local resources and groups:
Contacts for Local Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs)
Camels Hump Middle School
Hazen Union High School
Lake Region Union High School
Lamoille Union High School
Lamoille Union Middle School
Main Street Middle School
Mount Mansfield Union High School
Montpelier High School
Northern Vermont University
Peoples Academy Middle Level
Stowe High School
U-32 High School
Morristown Community Center
26 Union Street
Morrisville, VT 05661
Morrisville Friday Night Group
1st and 3rd Fridays of the month come on down to River Arts in Morrisville at 74 Pleasant Street from 6:30pm-8:00pm for Friday Night Group. We’ll provide pizza and other yummy snacks for folks to enjoy while they chat about their week, vent about issues that they’re facing, or laugh over jokes with new friends. FNG is Outright Vermont’s signature social and support group for self-identified queer and questioning youth ages 13-22. Youth do not need to sign up for group in advance.
The Mission of Outright Vermont is to build safe, healthy, and supportive environments for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth ages 13-22.