The Beat: Sexual Minority Youth

February 15, 2013

Book cover of Almost Home, showing a young person wearing a hoodie.“Almost Home: Helping Kids Move From Homelessness to Hope”
by Kevin Ryan and Tina Kelley, with foreword by Cory Booker

The president of an international organization for homeless youth teams up with a New York Times reporter to tell the stories of young people who overcame homelessness. We think you’ll want to recommend this book to people you know.

Four years and eleven stays at a shelter for homeless teens. That’s how long it took for the teenaged Paulie to escape family abuse, drugs and homelessness and to follow his own path in kickboxing and restaurant work.

The ups and downs of Paulie’s story will be no surprise to...

January 11, 2013

Photograph of a smiling young woman.Just a few years ago, it was hard for youth workers to find information about how best to serve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth experiencing homelessness. But the number of free resources on working with LGBTQ youth is growing. The National Alliance to End Homelessness and several other organizations in 2009 released “National Recommended Best Practices for Serving LGBT Youth,” which includes a list of principles that apply whether or not the young people you work with are homeless. Then in 2011, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration published a...

November 29, 2012

Official World AIDS day logo, showing a map of the world covered by a red ribbon.It has been more than 30 years since the first cases of AIDS were reported in the U.S.—which means the young people you work with have never known a world without HIV. Here’s what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say about young people and HIV:

  • Young people ages 13 to 29 accounted for 39 percent of all new HIV infections in 2009.
  • HIV disproportionately affects young gay and bisexual men and young African Americans, compared to other young people.
  • All young people should know how to protect themselves from HIV infection.

December 1 is...

November 19, 2012

Photograph of a rural landscape.We’ve often heard people who work with homeless youth in rural areas talk about the particular challenges their young people face. These teens travel dozens of miles to get to school, to health clinics, to social service agencies. Often, there’s no youth shelter within hundreds of miles.

There’s also a dearth of information about what providers are doing, and can do, to help. To start to fill the gap, the National Alliance to End Homelessness surveyed rural youth programs and then surveyed them again, asking about two common strategies: host homes and outreach. The results and some recommendations are described in the Alliance’s brief, “...

November 12, 2012

Photograph of a teen girl crouching on the sidewalk, wearing torn jeans and no shoes.For people in the runaway and homeless youth field, it's the million dollar question: What makes a young person more or less likely to run away or leave home and become homeless? If we knew the answer, perhaps we could end youth homelessness entirely.

Of course, the reasons may be as varied as the young people who run away.  But several recent papers have shed light on some of the factors that may make youth more likely to leave home. The three studies highlighted here used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, or Add Health, the largest and most comprehensive nationally representative survey of...

November 01, 2012

National Runaway Prevention Month.Each November, National Runaway Prevention Month gives youth workers a platform to educate the public about the issues affecting runaway youth. Here are some links from organizer the National Runaway Switchboard that we think might be particularly useful for youth workers in November and beyond:

  • Novembers 1 is a...
October 16, 2012

Photograph of a young woman in a hospital gown waiting for a doctor.When it comes to helping youth understand their medical rights related to sexual health, online resources can be a critical source of up-to-date information.

The Guttmacher Institute website includes monthly policy updates on state actions affecting minors’ access to sexual and reproductive health services. Youth workers can see where their state stands on a variety of issues such as contraceptive services and prenatal care for minors by accessing “State Policies in Brief: An Overview of Minors’ Consent Law” (PDF, 221 KB). This information is also broken out into individual guides available on the...

October 02, 2012

Photograph of a young woman facing the camera while young bullies stand behind her and laugh.October is National Bullying Prevention Month, but the topic seems to be in the news and on Americans’ minds year round. As a youth worker, what can you do to stop bullying in your program and your community? Here are some ideas:

1. Find out how bad the problem is. Researchers have created dozens of evidence-based tools that measure different aspects of bullying. The Centers for Disease Controls’ compendium of assessment tools can help you choose from a range of surveys and scales that investigate the experiences of bullies, bullied youth and...

September 06, 2012

Photograph of two hands with a rainbow arched over them.A survey sponsored by the Palette Fund, the True Colors Fund and the Williams Institute has confirmed what many youth workers have long believed: lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth make up a large portion of young people experiencing homelessness.

The LGBT Homeless Youth Provider Survey was conducted online from October 2011 to March 2012. Its findings are summarized in the report "Serving Our Youth: Findings from a National Survey of Services Providers Working With Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth Who Are Homeless or at Risk of Becoming Homeless" (PDF, 1.84MB).

Among the findings:

  • Nearly all...
July 12, 2012

Cover of HRC report on growing up LGBT in America.A new report from the gay rights group the Human Rights Campaign shows that when it comes to being bullied, feeling accepted and having optimism for the future, there are large disparities between lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth and their straight peers.

For "Growing Up LGBT in America," HRC surveyed 10,000 LGBT teens ages 13 to 17 and about 500 straight teens. Key findings include:

  • Nearly half of LGBT youth say they do not “fit in” in their community. Only 16 percent of straight youth feel that way.
  • While 4 out of 5 LGBT youth believe they will be happy one day, only about half of them believe they can be happy if they stay in their...

National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth | 5515 Security Lane, Suite 800 | North Bethesda, MD 20852 | (301) 608-8098 |