OUT Maine is proud to announce the release of “Best practices for LGBTQ+ inclusive youth programming.” This free guide provides a roadmap with concrete action steps for ensuring inclusive and welcoming programming for LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning) youth. It also serves as a training resource to increase administration and staff awareness of the current challenges facing LGBTQ+ participants.
As of 2019, there are more LGBTQ+-identified youth in Maine than ever before — 20 percent of Maine’s high school teens identify as LGBTQ+. (Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey (MIYHS), 2019) Given this reality, it becomes increasingly important to create safe spaces that explicitly welcome LGBTQ+ youth.
Nearly all of the youth programs surveyed indicated that helping youth find themselves and feel supported in their adolescence were essential program elements. It is important that day and residential programs for youth provide all participants with equal opportunity for this kind of growth, regardless of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity or expression. LGBTQ+ youth particularly need this kind of support.
We are very grateful to these youth-serving organizations who helped craft and refine these practices to ensure their usefulness for Maine’s many youth programs: Chewonki, Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership, Kieve-Wavus Education, PenBay YMCA, Tanglewood 4-H Camp and Learning and Trekkers. We offer special thanks to the Maine Community Foundation for supporting this project.
For more information, and to request a free copy of Best practices for LGBTQ+ inclusive youth programming, visit www.outmaine.org/programs/professionals.
OUT Maine works toward a welcoming and affirming Maine for all rural young people of diverse sexual orientations, gender expressions and gender identities. In partnership with their allies and families, OUT Maine supports, educates and empowers these youth in their journey from adolescence to adulthood. For more information, or to support OUT’s critical work on behalf of LGBTQ+ youth, please visit their website, www.outmaine.org.