Better Mentoring for the LGBTQ Youth in Your Program


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Presented June 21, 2012 - Part of 2012 Collaborative Mentoring Webinar Series

Education Northwest/National Mentoring Center, Friends For Youth, Indiana Mentoring Partnership, Kansas Mentors, Mass Mentoring Partnership, Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota, Mentor Michigan, Mobius Mentors, Oregon Mentors and other partners are working together in 2012 to deliver this free monthly webinar series for mentoring professionals.

For updates about upcoming webinars, join and follow the Mentoring Forums at

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Better Mentoring for the LGBTQ Youth in Your Program

  1. 1. 2012 Collaborative Mentoring Webinar Series Better Mentoring for the LGBTQ Youth in Your Program: Stepping Up to the ChallengeCollaboration of Education Northwest/National Mentoring Center, Friends for Youth, Indiana Mentoring Partnership, Mentor Michigan, Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota, and Oregon Mentors June 2012
  2. 2. 2012 Collaborative Mentoring Webinar Series o Research Meghan Ferns Oregon Mentors o Practice o Innovation Sarah KremerDate: Third Thursday of every Friends for Youthmonth. April RiordanTime: 10-11:15am Pacific/11am- Mentoring Partnership of12:15pm Mountain/12-1:15 pm MinnesotaCentral/1-2:15pm Eastern Celeste JanssenCost: Free Oregon Mentors 1
  3. 3. Good to Know…All attendees will receive an email after the webinarthat will include: Instructions for how to access PDF of presentation slides and webinar recording Link to the Mentoring Forum for resources, contact information & opportunities to continue the dialogue Please help us by taking the time to complete a short 5-question survey as you exit the webinar. 2
  4. 4. Participate in Today’s Webinar• All attendees muted for best sound• Type questions and comments in the question box• We may invite you to “raise your hand” during interactive activities 3
  5. 5. Today’s Webinar1. Definitions2. Research (statistics and more)3. Programming Suggestions Q & A throughout the presentation 4
  6. 6. Christian Rummell • Doctoral Research Scholar, Center for Interdisciplinary Mentoring Research, Portland State University • Formerly, Director of Mentoring Support Services at MENTOR, and Training and Technical Assistance Associate at Education NW • AmeriCorps Program Director at the “I Have a Dream” FoundationCHRISTIAN RUMMELL Christian@mentorist.orgEXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, (p) 415-571-8506MENTORIST 5
  7. 7. Linda Peterson • Almost five years with MMP • Created and conducts the MMP LGBTQ training for mentoring program staff in Mass • Former Vice President of the Greater Boston PFLAG Board of Directors • Current Committee Member of North Shore Pride, Inc. an LGBT organization in MassLINDA PETERSONMANAGER OF TRAINING & TA Main 617.695.1200MASS MENTORING LPeterson@massmentors.orgPARTNERSHIPS 6
  8. 8. LGBTQ Definitions (1)• L= Lesbian = Used for women who are homosexual• G = Gay = Typically used to describe men who are homosexual, but the term can be used for women as well• B = Bisexual = Someone whose romantic and sexual attraction is directed at both genders• T = Transgender = Describes someone whose gender identify or expression differs from what was associated with his/her physical sex at birth• Q = Questioning = Someone who is unsure of his/her sexual orientation and questioning the identify of his/her feelings. 7
  9. 9. LGBTQ Definitions (2)• Sexual orientation = Direction of one’s sexual attraction, based on feeling and not behavior 8
  10. 10. ResearchHelping to Unlock Mentoring’s Potential for Supporting Gay Youth 9
  11. 11. Unpacking our ownexperiences: What do yousee youth in your programstruggling with? In your own work, what types of struggles and challenges do you see gay youth facing? Please type this into the chat box.
  12. 12. My storyMy “Otherness”
  13. 13. ResearchGiven these stories and experiences, whatpublished studies are out there to offersupport for Gay youth? 12
  14. 14. Research on Mentoring Gay youthThe Headlines• Fair amount of studies that describe the need for support (risk factors, effects of victimization, etc.)• Not much on formal mentoring for youth• Growing body of research on Role models and Informal Mentoring (2012) 13
  15. 15. What are the RiskFactors?• Climate• Victimization and Stress• Social Interaction Anxiety 14
  16. 16. Climate• Homophobia: The irrational fear of homosexuality resulting in prejudice and discrimination of GLBT people• Transphobia: The irrational fear of those who are gender diverse and/or the inability to deal with gender ambiguity. (SAMHSA)• Heterosexism: Institutionalized and cultural homophobia: the legitimization of prejudice on the basis of non-heterosexual orientation through overt social practices and systems and covert social mores and customs (Brown and Colbourne, 2005) 15
  17. 17. The Effects of “Otherness” Victimization and StressVerbal and Physical Increased Risk of HIVAbuse in School • 14% African AmericanSettings • 7% Latino (CDC,• 3/4 hear derogatory 2008) comments in school “often”• 40% were physically harassed• 53% cyberbullied (GLSEN) 16
  18. 18. The Effects of “Otherness” Victimization and StressDrug and Alcohol Use/ High Risk SexualBehaviors(Garofalo, 1998) More likely to use cocaine, early initiation of drug and alcohol use. Engaged in high risk sexual behaviorsMeth Use Ever (CDC, 2011) Heterosexual (3.5%) Gay/Lesbian (21.5%) Bisexual (15%) Not Sure (13%) 17
  19. 19. The Effects of “Otherness” Victimization and StressSuicide and Suicidal Ideation28% self-reported suicide attempt (Ramafedi et al,1998)Attempts past 12 mo. (CDC, 2011): Heterosexual (6.5%) Gay/Lesbian (25%) Bisexual (28%) Not Sure (18.5%) 18
  20. 20. The Effects of “Otherness” Social Interaction Anxiety• Characterized as “fear of initiating and maintaining social conversations and interactions with others”• Barrier to receiving support that is available to them• Reflects an important challenge for this population to fully utilize social supports even when these supports are available to them* (Safron and Pantalone, 2006) 19
  21. 21. Question• What if our program serves younger populations?• What if we don’t have any openly gay youth?• Does this really matter for us, too?• What does the research say? 20
  22. 22. Sexual Orientation and Sexual Minority Identity DevelopmentMale Gay Youth (on Lesbian Youth (on average)average): • Report same-sex feelings at• Report same-sex feelings age 11 at age 10 • Begin to self-label at age 16• Begin to self-label at age 15 • First disclose sexuality to others at age 17• First disclose their sexuality to others at age 17 (D’augelli, 2006)
  23. 23. Crucial Identity Developmental PeriodAware of being differentExploring that awarenessLooking for support from others/ in socialrelationships (+/-)Learning how to navigate and share theirdifference as part of a marginalized group insociety (synthesis)
  24. 24. Mentoring: A Guiding StudyRoss (2005) Informal and Formal RelationshipsBenefits: increases in well-being, improvement as a college student, commitment to give back to the gay communityMentors play a role in:Mentee “unlearning” and “learning”Support for ConflictGain access to positive role models
  25. 25. Research on MentoringNatural Mentoring Impact of Role ModelsRelationships (Torres,Harper, on Health Outcomes (Bird,Sanchez, Fernandez, 2012) Kuhns, & Garofalo, 2012)Presence and Use: Type of role model and – Social support implications: – Emotional support – No effect on multiple – Informational support risk factors – Self-appraisal support – Less accessible role models= > – Unconditional support psychological distress
  26. 26. My Dissertation1:1 Long-Term Formal MentoringRelationships for Gay Youth (1 year orlonger)• What do they look like?• Benefits? Characteristics? Drawbacks?• Support for Identity Development? 25
  27. 27. Conclusion• Need exists for support• Role Models (and Mentors) may offer important protective benefits and support during critical periods of development• Like other mentoring relationships, additional harm can be done if relationships are not done intentionally.
  28. 28. Program PracticesStrategies, Tips, and Suggestions toStrengthen Services for LGBT Youth
  29. 29. Don’ts to Disclosure• Do not say: – Are you sure? – It’s just a phase. – I don’t want to hear about it. – You need counseling. – I am so sorry. – Have you tried dating someone of the opposite sex?• Do not ask questions that would have been considered rude before the disclosure.• Do not criticize the youth for being different.• Do not assume the youth is sexually active.
  30. 30. Steps for Programs• Conduct an Organizational Assessment• Provide staff with an LGBTQ training• Ask staff to complete a Personal Self Assessment• Screen and Train and Support Mentors• Provide a Safe Space for LGBTQ Youth
  31. 31. Signaling a Safe Space
  32. 32. Points to Remember• LGBTQ youth hear negative slang from – Family – Friends – The street – Their schools – Internet – Radio – TV
  33. 33. Points to Remember• LGBTQ youth – whether “out” or “in the closet” – don’t always have a safe place or person to turn to for guidance and support• Youth may be “out” with program staff, his or her mentor, and friends, but NOT be “out” at home.
  34. 34. Organizational Assessment• What are your policies for accepting an LGBT mentor?• Have you discussed in detail a transgender mentor? If so, who would you match this person with?
  35. 35. Organizational Assessment• Are LGBTQ individuals listed in your materials as people you serve/welcome?• Do staff orientations and volunteer trainings cover LGBTQ issues?• If you were an LGBTQ person at your organization would you feel safe being open?• Are LGBTQ materials visible at your organization?• Are forms for mentors, families, mentees inclusive of same gender households?• Does your organization use contacts within the LGBT communityAdapted from Mentoring Tactics: 2004 Center for Applied Research Solutions: Juan Barajas
  36. 36. Individual Staff Self-Assessment• How comfortable am I talking about homosexuality?• How do I respond to anti-gay jokes?• What was I taught and what do I believe about homosexuality?• What would I do if I knew one of the youth in my program was LGBTQ?• Do I have LGBT friends?• How would I feel if someone close to me came out as LGBT?• Do LGBTQ youth in my program feel safe with me?
  37. 37. Screening, Training, Supporting Mentors• During the application and screening process, ask mentors to describe their comfort level with LGBTQ (or perceived to be) youth.• Not all mentors will be comfortable with a LGBTQ youth – and youth may not disclose during their own intake process.• LGBTQ materials that are visible for youth lets them know they are welcome and accepted.
  38. 38. Screening, Training, Supporting Mentors• All mentors should receive a training on working with LGBTQ youth, which includes a reflection on their own feelings and perceptions.• Mentors should be trained on how to support youth with disclosure.• Staff should make it clear they are available for support and for information and connection to the LGBT community.
  39. 39. LGBTQ Youth Support• The home may or may not be a safe place for a LGBTQ youth• Coming out takes a tremendous amount of energy• Coming out is a continuous process• Don’t assume you know how someone will react to a youth coming out.• LGBTQ youth need the same supports and services all youth need. However, LGBTQ youth face unique challenges.
  40. 40. Tips for Mentors• Don’t assume the youth is heterosexual.• Recognize that you cannot tell by looking at someone.• Use inclusive language. Be accepting and open.• Use the vocabulary the youth uses.• Be supportive of youth who identify as heterosexual but are attracted to same sex.• Be alert to sudden changes in youth’s attitude about homosexuality.• Maintain confidentiality.• Be aware of your own attitudes.• Seek support from program staff and accurate information.Adapted from the National Mentoring Center publication Mentoring Sexual Minority Youth.
  41. 41. Is Your Program Welcoming?
  42. 42. 41
  43. 43. ResourcesGLSEN Safe Space Kit Sexual Minority Youth Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, andTransgender Youth 42
  44. 44. Additional Resources: Transgender YouthAnswers to Your Questions About TransgenderPeople with Transgender Youth 43
  45. 45. Before we go…All attendees will receive an email after the webinarthat will include: Instructions for how to access PDF of presentation slides and webinar recording Link to the Mentoring Forum for resources, contact information & opportunities to continue the dialogue Please help us by taking the time to complete a short 5-question survey as you exit the webinar. 44
  46. 46. The Mentoring Forums 45
  47. 47. Future WebinarsJuly 19 - Pushing the Boundaries of Mentoring: Tentative FutureSIYM 2012 Preview Topics:The Summer Institute on Youth Mentoring (SIYM), is August 16 - School-a weeklong, intensive institute at Portland State based mentoringUniversity. This summer, SIYM will feature researchon innovative and non-traditional models of youthmentoring. Along with SIYM research fellows and September 20 –participants (both past and present) this webinar will Closureexplore how these programs "on the edge" differfrom traditional models, identify commonalities and October 18 –consider ways that both traditional and non- Public/Private Venturestraditional programs can learn from each other. (June publication give- away!) 46
  48. 48. 2012 Collaborative Mentoring Webinar Series Thank you! Meghan Ferns, Sarah Kremer, April Riordan, Celeste Janssen, celeste@oregonmentors.orgCollaboration of Education Northwest/National Mentoring Center, Friends for Youth, Indiana Mentoring Partnership, Mentor Michigan, Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota, and Oregon Mentors