Black LGBTQ+ youth face rejection from multiple sources. They need safe spaces.

Author: Mira Lazine

Two recently published research reports published by The Trevor Project and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) say that Black transgender youth are more likely to be suicidal and are more likely to experience discrimination from both family and their white LGBTQ+ peers.

The Human Rights Campaign report reveals that over 78% of Black transgender and gender-expansive youth have reported racism in the LGBTQ+ community, compared to 74.8% of their cisgender peers. Many report that they are not able to trust their white LGBTQ+ peers, with the percentage for both transgender and cisgender youth being above 60%.

The report goes on to detail that over 80% of Black LGBTQ+ youth experience homophobia and transphobia within the Black community and that over 50% of both Black transgender and cisgender youth don’t feel accepted by other Black people due to being LGBTQ+.

58.6% of Black LGBTQ+ youth report experiencing some form of rejection from their parents, while only 56.5% report experiencing support from their parents.

The reports play an important role in creating a positive future for Black LGBTQ+ youth. They lay an important roadmap for advocates to better approach the problems faced by these youth. This is something that Derrick Matthews, director of research and science at the Trevor Project, also believes.

“I know a lot of folks are really stepping up to the plate to work with Black LGBTQ+ youth, and I really hope, if it wasn’t already, this puts on their radar screen the importance of helping people deal with the effects of multiple types of discrimination,” Matthews said to The 19th.

An important solution for meeting the needs of Black LGBTQ+ youth is creating safe spaces that are fully welcoming, while also being free of racism and queerphobia.

An important thing to emphasize is removing barriers from these safe spaces to make them as easy to access as possible. The director of services for the Chicago-based LGBTQ+ nonprofit Youth Empowerment Performance Project, Ka’Riel Gaiter, told The 19th that things like forced IDs for entry to these spaces often work to exclude marginalized youth, such as those who are homeless or those who have a mismatch between their ID and gender presentation.

He detailed, “I see them experience discrimination on a systemic level. There are not specific spaces anymore that are implementing harm reduction methods and trauma-informed methods of care that will actually meet these people where they are when they walk through their doors to receive services.”

The data from The Trevor Project is taken from the organization’s 2023 U.S. National Survey on the Mental Health of LGBTQ Young People. This involved a sample of over 28,000 people, of which over 1,500 responded that their race/ethnicity is “Black/African American.”

The Human Rights Campaign report takes its data from the joint HRC Foundation and University of Connecticut 2022 LGBTQ+ Teen Survey. This is a survey of over 12,000 LGBTQ+ teenagers below the age of 18. This has a sample of over 1,100 teenagers who responded with Black to their race/ethnicity.

The Trevor Project used an online survey platform that did not use prior targeting from the organization’s official platforms, instead aiming to minimize bias through its methods. It matched its data by geography and demographic details while using questions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

The HRC report also uses an online survey platform, presenting over 150 questions to respondents that were developed in tandem with University of Connecticut researchers. They built the survey off of a prior one from 2017 and verified the identity of each respondent either through government-issued ID or a video chat.

Editor’s note: This article mentions suicide. If you need to talk to someone now, call the Trans Lifeline at 1-877-565-8860. It’s staffed by trans people, for trans people. The Trevor Project provides a safe, judgement-free place to talk for LGBTQ youth at 1-866-488-7386. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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Actual Story on LGBTQ Nation
Author: Mira Lazine

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