LGBTQ+ Support Groups for Youth
The term LGBTQ+ is an umbrella typically used to refer to individuals who do not identify as heterosexual or who express their gender in ways that diverge from what is usually expected of a specific gender. Included in this group are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, questioning, and asexual youth, as well as adolescents who identify as non-binary in gender. Unfortunately, youth who belong to the LGBTQ+ community can face several challenges, including social rejection, discrimination, denial of job opportunities, physical violence, and increased risk of child maltreatment, including physical, psychological, and sexual abuse. These negative experiences have consequences for physical and mental health and are linked to increased risk of suicide, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. LGBTQ+ youth are also more likely to become homeless.
The Benefits of Support Groups for LGBTQ+ Youth
While identifying as a member of the LGBTQ+ community can increase the risk of social problems and mental health disorders among teens and adolescents, support groups can help. Studies have shown that being in spaces that affirm their gender identity and sexual orientation can reduce the risk of suicide for these youth. Being a part of a support group connects LGBTQ+ teens and adolescents to caring adults, and to peers who are experiencing similar challenges. This support helps them to build upon their strengths and reduce the negative effects of discrimination.
A recent study that explored the ways that LGBTQ+ teens access support and resources identified support group attendance as a meaningful activity for this population. Support groups not only offer a safe space where youth can talk about their experiences and connect with others; they can also link LGBTQ+ teens and adolescents to other resources, such as healthcare and pride events. Attending a support group is an important way of gaining acceptance and reducing the social isolation that can come along with feeling separated from the heterosexual world.
Check Out Our Latest Group Below
Express Yourself: A LGBTQ+ Group for Youth
*Check Back in the Spring*