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July/August 2022Vol. 23, No. 6Proceedings From a Workshop on Reducing Inequalities for LGBTQ Adolescents

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's Board on Children, Youth, and Families held a workshop called "Reducing Inequalities Between LGBTQ Adolescents and Cisgender, Heterosexual Adolescents" to better understand the inequalities facing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth as well as explore promising interventions to address them. The workshop's planning committee, which included experts from the fields of sociology, medicine, public health, psychology, social work, policy, and direct-service provision, sought input from professionals and practitioners whose daily and lived experience is in the service of LGBTQ adolescents as well as from LGBTQ youth of color about their perspectives, lives, and recommendations. The document acknowledges and addresses the intersectional nature of LGBTQ youth's lives, which means that each individual has multiple overlapping and interacting identities that include their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and abilities, which all affect their experiences within society. The published proceedings of the workshop detail outcomes and interventions for LGBTQ youth as well as interventions for personal, justice, and care systems; for families and communities; regarding mental, emotional, and physical health; and in education.

The percentage of the population who identifies as LGBTQ has risen, and, within each racial and ethnic group, 17 to 31 percent of youth identify as LGBTQ. Research has not kept pace with the increase, nor has it generally been inclusive and racially or culturally sensitive. The document notes that researchers and policymakers can improve their work by asking themselves who they have failed to include throughout the process and by examining if they are approaching populations with a holistic mindset—that is, that the population is multifaceted and includes unique needs from multiple demographics. It is critical to consider how policies will benefit or disadvantage different LGBTQ youth depending on their racial or ethnic backgrounds and their involvement in any other systems.

Explore the proceedings to learn more about intersectionality and LGBTQ youth as well as detailed examples of interventions to help support LGBTQ youth.