Tag Archives: LGBTQ Youth

7 Things You Need to Know About LGBTQ Suicide Risk

Suicide is a hard thing to talk about. There are a lot of conflicting opinions whenever it’s brought up – for many, it’s a deeply sensitive topic, and one that affects everyone in some way. Chances are good that you have either thought about suicide yourself, or you know someone who has. Yet, still, there’s this big stigma around it, and people are afraid to talk about it – mostly because they’re afraid of how other people will react. If it’s not sensitive and supportive, it’s often harsh and triggering.

Now, I don’t like to talk about my own suicidal past, either – partially because of the stigmas, and partially because I’m not that person anymore. But as September is suicide prevention month, and people who have oppressed identities – like the queer community has for so many years – are statistically more likely to think about and attempt suicide than their straight classmates.

I don’t want to get too deep into my story, but I will say that it has been almost 7 years since my last suicide attempt. I’m out of that place now – but the risks of returning there will always be on my mind. What’s even worse, to me, is that there are still so many youths that are still living with this daily struggle weighing on them. These young people are the future of the queer community, and we need to talk about what’s happening.

1. According to the CDC, LGBTQ high school students are at a higher risk for rape, bullying, and suicide.

In one of the saddest CDC reports I’ve ever read (although, admittedly, I’ve only ever read a few), it was stated that sexual abuse, bullying, and suicide risks were much greater within the 9th-12th grade LGBTQ community. According to this report, gay, lesbian, and bisexual high school students were at higher risk for 16 violence-related risky behaviors (out of 18 total identified behaviors). LGBTQ students also placed at higher risk for 18 out of 19 alcohol or drug use behaviors, as well as for 11 out of 13 tobacco-use related risk behaviors. LGBTQ students also managed to rank highest in give out of six sexual risk behaviors. This article gives a little more reader-friendly version of the findings.

This means that, across the board, LGBTQ students are very high-risk, and confirms the need for more LGBTQ-youth-oriented programs in local communities. (But we’ll get further into that one in just a few minutes.) Similar studies have been done by the US National Library of Medicine, although they state that any findings are “tentative” because not all people who identified as a “sexual minority” were out to their friends and family members, and as such, the numbers could be higher than the data collected reflects.

2. LGBTQ youth are more likely to be bullied.

91% more likely, in fact – a staggering number for any statistic, let alone one about suicide. They’re also 46% more likely to be physically or sexually victimized than their heterosexual classmates. (And, might I add, this includes LGBTQ youth who has yet to come out – the bullying is not necessarily homophobic in nature.)

Among these categories, trans-identified students are of particular concern. Over half of all transgender and gender-nonconforming students who are bullied for their identity have already attempted suicide, and that number jumps up to 78% for those who have experienced physical or sexual abuse at school.

Of course, there are a whole host of other things that the queer community is more likely to experience – check out this study by The Williams Institute to learn about a few more.

3. Lack of support and acceptance at home increases the risks of suicide.

While bullying outside the home is the type we think of the most, the truth is that having a hostile home environment has just as much of a devastating impact, if not more – after all, at school, there’s a chance to get away, and that’s not usually the case at home. Kids from homophobic families are 8.4 times more likely (that’s 840%, for those of you who don’t like decimals) to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers and peers with supportive home lives.

4. Suicide is the #2 cause of death among people aged 10-24.

Yes, you read that right – suicide is the #2 cause of death among preteens, teenagers, and young adults. Thankfully, these numbers are a little lower in counties and regions that have more support for queer youth. In fact, counties that aren’t safe and supportive spaces for LGBTQ youth, suicide rates are 20% higher than in counties that are safe and supportive.

LGBTQ high schoolers are 4 times more likely (400%) to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.

5. Gay and bisexual men are most likely to attempt suicide before the age of 25.

Across all demographics, gay and bisexual men account for the most suicide attempts, with 20% of gay and bi men having a suicide plan, and 12% attempting suicide within their lives. According to the US National Library of Medicine, most of these men attempted suicide before they turned 25.

6. Gay/Straight Alliances reduce the suicide risk for all students.

What may be a bit more of a shock is the fact that Queer-Straight Alliances (or Gay-Straight Alliances, or whatever they happen to be called in your area) actually reduce the risk of suicidal thoughts, behaviors, and attempts even for heterosexual students. In fact, in schools that had their QSA for over three years, incidents of homophobic bullying and suicidal thoughts were dropped by as much as 50%, across the board.

7. There are places you can go for help.

One of the most important things to remember is that, sometimes, just having someone to be there makes all the difference in the world. Whether you want to help out, or you are in a high-risk situation and just need to talk to someone, you may be able to find resources in your local area to help. In the US and Canada, there are 24-hour crisis call centers to help and you may be able to volunteer to help others, as well.

If you’re in another country and you know of a resource for at-risk and LGBTQ youth, please let us know in the comments. No one should have to feel alone in the world, and there is always someone who cares – you just have to know where to look.

‘Survival Sex’ the Only Option for Some Homeless LGBTQ Youth, Says Ali Forney Center

Although much of the recent focus on LGBTQ rights has been on same-sex marriage, it is by far the only pressing issue faced by the community. Also of huge concern is the issue of LGBTQ youth. The United States’ Department of Justice estimates that 1.7 million teenagers are homeless in the country, while a Williams Institute study from 2012 notes that around 40% of homeless youth is LGBTQ.

As homeless shelters are often run by religious groups and often see gang involvement too – both of which are intolerant to LGBTQ+ youth and their identities – they can be incredibly hostile places to stay. So hostile in fact, that many homeless LGBTQ youth find themselves engaging in ‘survival sex’ as they are forced to sell their bodies.

Speaking to Teen Vogue, Carl Siciliano, the executive director and founder of New York City-base charity Ali Forney Center (“making a difference by rescuing kids from the dangers of the streets and placing them into our safe”), shed more light on this issue. Siciliano explains:

“When I started working with homeless kids, I saw the desperation and degradation that forced them into trading their bodies for survival. One of the fundamental issues is that you’ve got a situation where there are all these LGBT youth that are disproportionately making up the homeless youth population.

A lot of the youth shelters are run by religious organizations, so LGBTQ youth have a difficult time getting off of the streets, and when you’re outside, and you’re scared and hungry and desperate. Who’s going to hire you? You’re dirty, you’re a mess, so how do you survive? [Survival sex is] something these young people are forced into it by a broader neglect of the reality of youth homelessness.”

Siciliano also notes that “there isn’t a range of reasons for survival sex” and that is really does boil down to homeless young people finding themselves with “no way to support yourself, no food, no place to sleep”. The Ali Forney Center director also described instances where these young people have had to sneak into buildings to sleep in hallways or even had to sleep on the subway.

Despite being the United States’ largest organisation tackling the issue of homeless LGBTQ youth, the Ali Forney Center notes that it “cannot do this alone”. The organisation asks that people consider donating money or purchase an item from its Amazon Wish List to “directly help homeless LGBTQ youth”.

Polarised: New Documentary Takes A Honest Look At Mental Health Issues In LGBTQ Community

Polarised is a new short, powerful and much needed documentary about LGBTQ+ young people living in London and suffering from mental illness.

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In this ground-breaking documentary, Charlie Smoke, Amy Gunn and their contemporaries explore what it means to be LGBTQ+ and mentally ill at a time when vital services and support are being slashed by austerity economics.

The LGBTQ+ community is disproportionately affected by mental illness.

A study recently showed that LGBTQ+ people are 10 times more likely to attempt suicide at any given point in their lifetimes.

LGBTQ+ people are 3 times more likely to experience anxiety disorders than heterosexuals, and up to 6 times more likely to suffer from depression.

Charlie Smoke, Executive Producer said:

As the Project has progressed, it’s become evident that this isn’t a documentary that will just personally touch our lives. It’s become a vehicle with which to channel the voices of many – those whose voices have been battered down, ignored and lost.

It became evident when we managed to raise over £2,200 in just under two months through our first round of crowd funding. We want to explore what it means to be LGBTQ+ and mentally ill in 2015 and to make ourselves visible. This short film is the start.”

The short film (running time approx. 24 minutes) can be viewed on KitschMix.TV

The project has also announced ‘The Polarised Glitter Ball’, an evening of drag, burlesque, comedy and queer performance on the 21st November at The Good Ship in Kilburn to raise vital funds for the production of the feature documentary. Tickets can be bought here

Karma and Amy Share Steamy Kiss In This ‘Faking It’ Trailer (Video)

WOW!! It looks like chemistry is in the making when our favourite Faking It BFFs – Karma and Amy – share a hot swimming pool kissing in the new season trailer.

The dramedy, which due to return August 31st, looks heat up several other relationships too.


Mormon Church Donates to LGBTQ Charity

Mormons and the LGBTQ community historically haven’t gotten along.

The church has been active in efforts to end gay marriage, and even the Supreme Court’s most recent opinion hasn’t deterred them from fighting. So it came as a surprise to almost everyone that the anti-gay church just made its first donation to an LGBT cause.

While the church still doesn’t approve of homosexuality, that didn’t stop them from making a recent donation to the Utah Pride Center, an organisation that helps to serve homeless LGBTQ youth.

LGBTQ youth are disproportionately represented in the homeless population. Over 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT, and the number of youth has always outpaced the number of beds.

The Mormon Church donated approximately $2,500 to help fund the Pride Center’s food pantry, which serves close to 40 homeless youth every week.

However, as the donation was being processed, the church’s governing body sent a letter to congregational leaders reminding them that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Understanding and Accepting Your Sexuality (Video)

TeenLine has a great video called LGBTQ: Understanding Sexual Orientation and Gender Identities.

It is an educational video, which focuses on the lives of several LGBTQ teens in Los Angeles. The video discuses their coming out process, the support (or lack of support) they received, and how the learned to embrace their identities.

As we know some LGBTQ youth are more likely than their heterosexual peers to experience difficulties in their lives and school environments, such as violence.

Negative attitudes toward lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people put these youth at increased risk for experiences with violence, compared with other students. Violence can include behaviours such as bullying, teasing, harassment, physical assault, and suicide-related behaviours.

LGBTQ youth are also at increased risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviours, suicide attempts, and suicide. A nationally representative study of adolescents in grades 7–12 found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth were more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide as their heterosexual peers.3 More studies are needed to better understand the risks for suicide among transgender youth. However, one study with 55 transgender youth found that about 25% reported suicide attempts.

For youth to thrive in their schools and communities, they need to feel socially, emotionally, and physically safe and supported. A positive school climate has been associated with decreased depression, suicidal feelings, substance use, and unexcused school absences among LGBQ students.

Schools can implement clear policies, procedures, and activities designed to promote a healthy environment for all youth. For example, research has shown that in schools with LGB support groups (such as gay-straight alliances), LGB students were less likely to experience threats of violence, miss school because they felt unsafe, or attempt suicide than those students in schools without LGB support groups. A recent study found that LGB students had fewer suicidal thoughts and attempts when schools had gay-straight alliances and policies prohibiting expression of homophobia in place for 3 or more years.


‘Faking It’ Renewed for a Third Season AND there’s a New Spice Season 2B Promo

There’s nothing fake about this news: MTV has renewed its team comedy Faking It for Season 3, and we have been given a new premiere date the second half of Season 2 – the 31st August 2015. And although the summer seems so far away, it’s never too early to have feelings and make judgements about what’s in store for our favourite fake lesbian couple.


MTV’s half hour drama/comedy had a bit of a rocky start. As one of few shows to feature a queer female lead, Faking It focused on two characters, Amy, who was in love with her best friend, Karma. Many people liked the show, but it weaved a complicated web in its portrayal of queer women.

The girls, in the very first episode, are actually forced into pretending that they are dating when a (queer, male) classmate outs them at a party. Hardly the most progressive way of portraying a ‘coming out story’ is it? And then, to make matters so much worse, the series ended with Amy being rejected by Karma only to drunkenly sleep with Karma’s male love interest.

Faking It Season 2B 01

However, season 2 looked to correct some of these issues and the show has started to blossom, developing queer characters we can kind of relate too.


LGBTQ Documentary Teaches Young People About Love and Identity

Coming to terms to your identity as a young LGBTQ identified person can often be a difficult thing. Not only is there the fear of what will happen when they come out (about being ostracised from friendship groups and kicked out of their homes by guardians) but there are also many questions about the identities themselves.

Unfortunately, due to a lack of queer representation in general but specifically about young people, there’s a lot that young people (both non-LGBTQ and LGBTQ-identified) do not know and there are also myths about LGBTQ identities that need to be dispelled.

Attempting to educate young people across the board is a new documentary called The Year We Thought About Love. As the title suggests, the documentary is about a Boston LGBTQ youth group called True Colors: OUT Youth Theater. The film follows the troupe as they consider their own loves – be it first loves, present loves or heartbreak – and turn it into a stage production.


Although the film is directed towards young people (the audiences who watch the play in the film are also middle and high school students), it doesn’t hold back. For example, there’s the story of trans girl of colour Alyssa who explains that she has been thrown out of her home, there’s Chi a religious gay male of colour who is trying to navigate homophobia at home as well as within his church.

These are the stories that the media very rarely shows or dares to tackle and The Year We Thought About Love shows the true face of the LGBTQ community. Not only this but for many people, it may take the voices of these young people to help them truly understand LGBTQ identities and help them dismiss feelings of ignorance towards queer people.

The Year We Thought About Love can be seen at screenings around the United States this April.

Kristin Russo is Giving Queer People A Place To Tell Their Own Stories in New Web Series ‘First Person’

First Person is new web series from WNET in partnership with PBS Digital Studios, which takes a thoughtful, no-holds-barred look at gender identity – from bisexual erasure, trans visibility to coming out in sports.

The first episode of First Person is an intimate conversation YouTube personality Skylar Kergil, a trans artist and activist known in part for documenting his transition via YouTube videos. In it, we get a more rounded out look at Skylar’s life and how he came to transition in the public eye, including the effects that decision has had on his life:

Host Kristin Russo, who is also the co-founder of LGBTQ youth advocacy group Everyone Is Gay, describes the project as an opportunity for “people to tell their own stories about being queer and trans.”

“Our mission for the show is to tackle the topics of gender and sexuality by actually talking with people whose lives intersect with those issues. The digital platform is important because it’s where the younger generation is going for their information.”

Kristin Russo

‘Fix Society’ The Plead From Transgender Teen Who Left A Suicide Note On Tumblr

Today we were informed of a terrible story about a 17-year-old transgender teen committing suicide.

A photo posted by laverne cox (@lavernecox) on

On Sunday, Leelah Alcorn was struck and killed by a passing semi trailer on an Ohio interstate. A suicide note later appeared on her Tumblr blog. The incident is being investigated by the Ohio State Highway Patrol, but local media have reported the incident as the death of a teen “boy” using Leelah’s (male) birth name, and have made no mention that she was transgender.

Leelah had scheduled one last blog entry to published after her death. In the entry, titled ‘a girl trapped in a boy’s body’, she wrote that she felt “like a girl trapped in a boy’s body” and had done so “ever since [she] was 4”, and her Christian parents’ refusal to allow her to transition.

In the post Leelah gave advice for parents of transgender teens and children. She begged them to never tell their child that being transgender is “a phase”, “that God doesn’t make mistakes,” or that they can never truly be the gender they feel they are.


In a second post, Leelah expressed apologies to her sisters and brother.

If you are reading this, it means that I have committed suicide and obviously failed to delete this post from my queue.

Please don’t be sad, it’s for the better. The life I would’ve lived isn’t worth living in… because I’m transgender. I could go into detail explaining why I feel that way, but this note is probably going to be lengthy enough as it is. To put it simply, I feel like a girl trapped in a boy’s body, and I’ve felt that way ever since I was 4. I never knew there was a word for that feeling, nor was it possible for a boy to become a girl, so I never told anyone and I just continued to do traditionally “boyish” things to try to fit in.

When I was 14, I learned what transgender meant and cried of happiness. After 10 years of confusion I finally understood who I was. I immediately told my mom, and she reacted extremely negatively, telling me that it was a phase, that I would never truly be a girl, that God doesn’t make mistakes, that I am wrong. If you are reading this, parents, please don’t tell this to your kids. Even if you are Christian or are against transgender people don’t ever say that to someone, especially your kid. That won’t do anything but make them hate them self. That’s exactly what it did to me.

My mom started taking me to a therapist, but would only take me to christian therapists, (who were all very biased) so I never actually got the therapy I needed to cure me of my depression. I only got more christians telling me that I was selfish and wrong and that I should look to God for help.

When I was 16 I realized that my parents would never come around, and that I would have to wait until I was 18 to start any sort of transitioning treatment, which absolutely broke my heart. The longer you wait, the harder it is to transition. I felt hopeless, that I was just going to look like a man in drag for the rest of my life. On my 16th birthday, when I didn’t receive consent from my parents to start transitioning, I cried myself to sleep.

I formed a sort of a “fuck you” attitude towards my parents and came out as gay at school, thinking that maybe if I eased into coming out as trans it would be less of a shock. Although the reaction from my friends was positive, my parents were pissed. They felt like I was attacking their image, and that I was an embarrassment to them. They wanted me to be their perfect little straight christian boy, and that’s obviously not what I wanted.

So they took me out of public school, took away my laptop and phone, and forbid me of getting on any sort of social media, completely isolating me from my friends. This was probably the part of my life when I was the most depressed, and I’m surprised I didn’t kill myself. I was completely alone for 5 months. No friends, no support, no love. Just my parent’s disappointment and the cruelty of loneliness.

At the end of the school year, my parents finally came around and gave me my phone and let me back on social media. I was excited, I finally had my friends back. They were extremely excited to see me and talk to me, but only at first. Eventually they realized they didn’t actually give a shit about me, and I felt even lonelier than I did before. The only friends I thought I had only liked me because they saw me five times a week.

After a summer of having almost no friends plus the weight of having to think about college, save money for moving out, keep my grades up, go to church each week and feel like shit because everyone there is against everything I live for, I have decided I’ve had enough. I’m never going to transition successfully, even when I move out. I’m never going to be happy with the way I look or sound. I’m never going to have enough friends to satisfy me. I’m never going to have enough love to satisfy me. I’m never going to find a man who loves me. I’m never going to be happy. Either I live the rest of my life as a lonely man who wishes he were a woman or I live my life as a lonelier woman who hates herself. There’s no winning. There’s no way out. I’m sad enough already, I don’t need my life to get any worse. People say “it gets better” but that isn’t true in my case. It gets worse. Each day I get worse.

That’s the gist of it, that’s why I feel like killing myself. Sorry if that’s not a good enough reason for you, it’s good enough for me. As for my will, I want 100% of the things that I legally own to be sold and the money (plus my money in the bank) to be given to trans civil rights movements and support groups, I don’t give a shit which one. The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say “that’s fucked up” and fix it. Fix society. Please.


(Leelah) Josh Alcorn

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or depression there are resources for help:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (USA): 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Transgender Lifeline (USA): +187 756 588 60

Samaritans (UK): 08457 90 90 90

Suicide Prevention (Aus): 13 11 14

‘Queer Kids’ – The Generation That No Longer Need a Closet

From Oct. 30 until Jan. 4, ‘Queer Kids’ will be on display at the Stonewall National Museum and Archives in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The photo project chronicles the work of M. Sharkey.

Nancy and Marie, Brussels, Belgium, 2013.
Mars, Brooklyn, New York, 2012. Liz, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, 2010. Po, Brussels, Belgium, 2013. JR, San Francisco, California, 2007. Patrick, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, 2010. Eleet, Brooklyn, New York, 2012. Mars, Brooklyn, New York, 2012.Queer-Youth-08

For M. Sharkey, growing up in the 80s meant being out of the closet was, “just not a possibility”.

However, times have changed for LGBTQ in America. They have won greater freedoms and protections under the law, which means a new generation of kids has increasingly begun to experience something novel: A childhood in which sexuality and gender identity is more freely expressed and discussed.

When Sharkey began photographing queer youths in 2006, he thought he might spend a few years on the project. However, he is still taking photos and has taken 100’s of photos around world.

“I wish someone had given me the opportunity to have a voice as a young person, and I think these kids are really excited to have that opportunity. They want to be seen; they want to be heard; they don’t want to hide.

We live in a very connected world with the Internet. I think kids from all over America can see the same positive role models. Everyone has access to the same information, so it does allow for a more unified culture.” 

M. Sharkey

In the beginning, Sharkey say’s his subjects would frequently identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Increasingly, though, they prefer simply to identify as queer.

“Today, I think there’s much more reluctance to identify as any one specific thing. I think they understand the term ‘queer’ as something that is more inclusive and representative of a continuum.”

M. Sharkey

That’s not the only change Sharkey has noticed in the past eight years.

“People talk about the gay ’90s and for sure that was a thing. But it was more for adults, it wasn’t really about kids. The past decade has really been about the kids. It’s amazing to see how many kids have come out, not just in terms of sexual identity, but in terms of gender identity. It feels like a kind of revolution,” he said.”

M. Sharkey

What to Expect From MTV’s Faking It Season 2

MTV’s half hour drama/comedy had a bit of a rocky start. As one of few shows to feature a queer female lead, Faking It focused on two characters, Amy, who was in love with her best friend, Karma. Many people liked the show but it weaved a complicated web in its portrayal of queer women.

The girls, in the very first episode, are actually forced into pretending that they are dating when a (queer, male) classmate outs them at a party. Hardly the most progressive way of portraying a ‘coming out story’ is it? And then, to make matters so much worse, the series ended with Amy being rejected by Karma only to drunkenly sleep with Karma’s male love interest. And all all happened in just 8 episodes.

Faking It season 2 looks to correct some of these issues though, so read on below to find out the scoop before the new series airs.

First thing’s first, the fallout from that hook-up with Liam? Yeah, we can expect that to be huge. Judging by the promo for the second season above it doesn’t deter Karma from pursuing him but it will likely cause a rift between the two besties. And, although there might me a great helping of angst between Karma and Amy, we shouldn’t expect a blissful, lady-loving reunion as ‘Karmy’ won’t be canon just yet.

Instead, Amy will get a new girlfriend! Not much is known about the character just yet other than her name (Deacon) and that she’ll be a “hip, edgy lesbian with a rebellious streak”. Could that end up being a little tropey? Have we not seen the hip, edgy lesbian persona portrayed on PLL (Paige McCullers) and The L Word (Shane et. al)? Arguably yes, but if Amy gets a chance of love that’s not the sometimes confusing, sometimes heart-wrenching and awful to watch romance with Karma, then Amy’s new lady love sounds alright by us.

Meanwhile, we can expect a huge, whopping bombshell to be dropped by Amy’s step-sister, Lauren. Or, rather, we can expect her to be unceremoniously outed as intersex. Again, outing is not ok and Faking It really needs to stop doing this but the fact that they are addressing the rarely touched upon topic of intersex people is nothing short of massive. The last intersex television character was a girl named Amy on the cancelled TV show Freaks and Geeks in 2000 so Lauren’s story is a Very Big Deal. There’s hope for Faking It to deal with her storyline in a nuanced way and not mishandle it so we’ll see how it does over the next set of episodes.

Furthermore, we can also expect cameos by Orange is the New Black’s Laverne Cox who plays a drama teacher while girl band Fifth Harmony will be starring as “an all-girl band with an edge who cover pop music’s most memorable boy band songs”.

Faking It season two premieres on September 23rd on MTV.


Confused About Your Pronouns? Watch this Video by Minus18 to Understand the Importance of Getting Pronouns Right

Pronouns are the words used to refer to a person other than their name, like they, she and he. However, genderqueer people may instead prefer they, xe, or other gender neutral pronouns.

When a trans person comes out, they may have new pronouns they want to use, and it shows respect for someone when you make an effort to use the pronouns they’d like you to use.

A new campaign written and produced by members of Victoria’s (Australia) sexually and gender diverse organisation Minus18, has been created to get people up to speed on the awkward topic of pronouns.

When you come out as trans, people sometimes take a while to adjust to your new pronouns, or don’t quite understand. So we launched a new campaign to help! An article that introduces the topic, a video with a rundown from trans young people, and a web app where you can learn and practice pronouns!

It can take a bit of getting used to. but it’s important to get it right. There are lots of reasons it’s important to use the correct pronouns a person prefers, but the simple answer is it can make a person feel pretty shit when you use the wrong ones.

The Minus18 crew

Minus18 is Australia’s largest youth-led organisation for same-sex attracted and gender diverse young people.

A New Season and New Face – Laverne Cox to Join MTV’s Lesbian Comedy ‘Faking It’

Laverne Cox, the actress best known for playing transgender inmate Sophia Burset on Orange is the New Black, has signed up to the second season of comedy Faking It.

Faking It is based on two best friends in high school,

Faking It, is about two teen girls – Amy (Rita Volk) and Karma (Katie Stevens), who pretend to be a lesbian couple in order to become more popular, only for one of the girls to realise that she has genuine romantic feelings.

The show attracted some controversy when it first aired earlier this year, over its portrayal of gay characters. However, the shows creator Carter Covington says that it might sound like a wild premise, but it’s actually based on many calls he fielded when he worked as a crisis counselor for the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention hotline for LGTBQ youth.

“For the young people today, this show is not going to be controversial. I genuinely think it’s going to feel like, an exaggerated version, of course, but very much based in the world they live in now. Kids these days don’t see the world through the eyes that I did when I was kid, but the core things stay the same: Who am I? Who do I want to be? How do I want the world to see me? Those things are only accentuated with social media.”

Says Covington.

According to Entertainment Weekly, in an episode set to air later this year, Cox will play drama teacher Margot, described as “demanding, intense, and full of herself” and “a big fish in a small pond”.

‘Kids Help Phone’ Provides New Site for Canada’s LGBTQ Youth

Although exploring one’s sexual identity can be an ongoing process, it can be particularly complex for LGBTQ youth, as they realise they may have to cope with stigma, discrimination, and social intolerance.

LGBTQ youth often face many challenges that contribute to putting them at greater risk for violence, abuse, isolation, mental illness, homelessness, and suicide. As a frequent first-point of contact for these young people, Kids Help Phone – a Toronto based charity – is enhancing its support for LGBTQ youth with the launch of new site to provide information, tips and tools to support.

Kids Help Phone known for its expertise in providing vital, innovative counselling services to children and youth in communities across Canada. Since 1989 it has offered children, teens and young adults a critical lifeline of hope and support, through its free, anonymous and confidential service.

Kids Help Phone’s professional counsellors support the mental health and well-being of young people ages five to 20, in urban, rural, and remote communities, by providing one-on-one counselling, information and resources online and by phone, in English and French.

“Questioning and exploring sexual identity can be complex for young people. LGBTQ youth can experience confusion, anger, be scared, feel alone or even isolated and have low self-esteem; it’s crucial that they have a range of resources, some safe space, to help them feel supported and help them find the answers they are looking for. In some communities in Canada, Kids Help Phone is the only professional counselling service available 24/7 to LGBTQ youth. No matter what they are struggling with, we want them to know that Kids Help Phone is there, on the phone and online.”

Alain Johnson, Clinical Director, French Language Services.


Did you know:

  • 16% of Kids Help Phone clients self-identify as LGBQ
  • 4% of Kids Help Phone clients self-identify as transgender
  • LGBTQ youth are approximately three times more likely to attempt suicide than other youth
  • Studies show that 10% of secondary school adolescents reported being unsure of their sexual orientation (Williams et al., 2004)


We Are the Youth – Diversity Of Today’s LGBT Youth

Take a closer look at this stunning photo project, We Are the Youth – that captures the beauty and diversity of today’s LGBT Youth in the United States.

A collaboration between award-winning journalist Diana Scholl and photographer Laurel Golio, We Are the Youth is an ongoing photographic journalism project that chronicles the individual stories of LGBT youth in America.

The duo, who set out to create portraits paired with “as told to” interviews in the individuals own voices. The photos captures diversity and uniqueness among today’s of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth population, with the goal being to addresses the lack of visibility of LGBT young people by providing a space to share stories in an honest and respectful way.

Since its inception in 2010, We Are the Youth has profiled more than 80 young people from all walks of life and from across the United States. Now, what began as a web-based project four years ago is being turned into a stunning new book, released by Space-Made, an alternative media company, in conjunction with Interrupt Magazine. The book will be released the end of June. Pre-order your copy today.

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#polarised: An Inspiring Documentary on LGBTQ Mental Health in London

Polarised is an upcoming powerful and much needed documentary about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer young people living in London and suffering from mental illness.

In this ground-breaking documentary, Charlie Smoke and his contemporaries explore what it means to be LGBTQ+ and mentally ill at a time when vital services and support are being slashed by austerity economics.

Polarised is important because LGBTQ+ mental health needs to be visible.”

Charlie Smoke (23) London

The film will include interviews with members of the LGBTQ community and it’s allies, social commentators as well as candid footage and animation.

Filming will begin in late July, wrapping at the beginning of September. The documentary will be released in autumn 2014.

A crowd-funding campaign is currently underway to raise the £5,000 needed to make the film. This began on April 25th, and will finish on June 24th at 11.59pm. This can be found at indiegogocom/projects/polarised.

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Amazing News | LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund Announces $780,000 in Grants

The LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund – a collaborative philanthropic initiative that envisions a United States where LGBTQ people of colour can safely and vibrantly pursue full authentic lives – announced $780,000 in inaugural grants to support efforts in the Southeastern United States.

The Fund’s collaborative partners, the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, the Ford Foundation, the Arcus Foundation and an anonymous donor, aim to develop and strengthen a strategic and effective advocacy sector addressing the needs of LGBTQ communities of colour.

We have made tremendous progress toward improving the life quality of LGBTQ individuals and families. But unless we both recruit new leaders and respect the strong long-standing strategic voices in communities of color, our momentum could slow to a crawl in the next battleground regions, like the Southwest and Southeast”

J. Bob Alotta, Executive Director of the Astraea Lesbian Fund for Justice.

This first round of grants targets education, organising and advocacy and includes the following organisations:

  • Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana, working in partnership with the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights and Equality Louisiana (New Orleans, LA) to coordinate the Louisiana Safe Schools Coalition, ensuring that every child in Louisiana receives a high quality education in a safe, welcoming and affirming environment.
  • Racial Justice Action Center, working in partnership with LaGender and Trans(forming) (Atlanta, GA) in the Solutions Not Punishment (SNaP) Coalition & Campaign, to increase employment rates and access to housing and quality health care for LGBTQ communities of colour in the Atlanta metropolitan area while decreasing police harassment, profiling and abuse.
  • New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, working in partnership with BreakOUT! (New Orleans, LA) to formalise From Vice to Ice, a campaign to end the criminalisation of LGBTQ people of colour and immigrant communities and build a transformative movement for justice and equity in the United States South.
  • Nollie Jenkins Family Center, working in partnership with the Mississippi Coalition for the Prevention of Schoolhouse 2 Jailhouse (Lexington, MS) to reframe the negative narrative and oppressive conditions faced by LGBTQ youth through public education, public discourse and support of queer youth-focused issues.
  • Project South (Atlanta, GA), working in partnership with the organisations of the Southern Movement Assembly to coordinate the Unite to Fight Summer Organising Drive to revitalise civic participation and build necessary infrastructure for organising, education, and communications capacities within communities affected by oppression and exploitation across the US South.
  • Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), a California-based organisation working in partnership with the Youth Empowerment Project (New Orleans, LA) to build capacity and empower low-income LGBTQ youth of colour in public schools to create systemic change at both local and state levels in Louisiana.

By partnering with pioneering funders with a successful history of seeding social change, the LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund hopes to expand what people, organisations and funders see as the full measure of progress when it comes to improving the lives of LGBTQ communities.

“The LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund is a collaborative initiative to influence resources that will affect greater change than we could achieve alone. By also supporting organisations that work together, the grants further leverage efforts to improve the lives of LGBTQ communities of colour. We invite more funders to partner with the LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund and help us advance racial justice and LGBTQ equality,”

Roz Lee, Senior Program Officer of the Arcus Foundation

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“LGBT Americans have made great strides towards the dream of a lived equality, but our work is far from over. Baseline legal equality has yet to reach vast swaths of our country—especially for those who live in the Southeast. Even in states with legal protections, there is a wide gulf between what the law promises and the daily experiences of LGBT people, especially people of color. The Ford Foundation believes that every person should have the opportunity to reach their full potential, contribute to society and have voice in the decisions that affect them — regardless of their race, sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Luna Yasui, LGBT Rights Program at the Ford Foundation

A second request for proposals is expected to be issued in 2015 with an expanded geographic reach.


A Renaissance in Young Adult LGBTQ Fiction

A Renaissance in Young Adult LGBTQ Fiction – It’s been a common complaint for some time now within the LGBT community: there just aren’t enough books for young LGBTQ adults. All that is starting to change now, as 2014 has seen the publication of some truly great reads:

Moon at Nine

Far From You by Tess Sharpe

A whodunit with a fascinating element of same-sex attraction between the protagonists.

Synopsis: The first time, she’s fourteen, and escapes a near-fatal car accident with scars, a bum leg, and an addiction to Oxy that’ll take years to kick. The second time, she’s seventeen, and it’s no accident. Sophie and her best friend Mina are confronted by a masked man in the woods. Sophie survives, but Mina is not so lucky. When the cops deem Mina’s murder a drug deal gone wrong, casting partial blame on Sophie, no one will believe the truth… read more

Moon at Nine by Deborah Ellis

Two lesbians fall in love under the religious strictures of 1980s Iran – with dramatic consequences.

Synopsis: Fifteen-year-old Farrin has many secrets. Although she goes to a school for gifted girls in Tehran, as the daughter of an aristocratic mother and wealthy father, Farrin must keep a low profile. It is 1988; ever since the Shah was overthrown, the deeply conservative and religious government controls every facet of life in Iran. If the Revolutionary Guard finds out about her… read more

Changers, Book One: Drew by T. Cooper and Allison Glock

Gender-bending occult thriller that bears a resemblance to the excellent Every Day by David Levithan.

Synopsis: Changers Book One: Drew opens on the eve of Ethan Miller’s freshman year of high school in a brand-new town. He’s finally sporting a haircut he doesn’t hate, has grown two inches since middle school, and can’t wait to try out for the soccer team… read more

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kiklan

This nonfiction collection of portraits and interviews is a powerful insightful into the lives of LGBTYAs.

Synopsis: Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preferen… read more

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Hard science fiction with a strong focus on bisexuality – a must-read!

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the story of how he and his best friend , Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa… read more


Shadowplay by Laura Lam

The sequel to last year’s highly successful Pantomine, out now!

Synopsis: He and the white clown, Drystan, take refuge with the once-great magician, Jasper Maske. When Maske agrees to teach them his trade, his embittered rival challenges them to a duel which could decide all of their fates… read more


Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

The issue of lesbians who work in the world of cinema is not widely discussed, but this book addresses precisely that theme.

Synopsis: A wunderkind young set designer, Emi has already started to find her way in the competitive Hollywood film world. Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess… read more


Fan Art by Sarah Tregay

Two female students in the same art class fall gradually in love…

Synopsis: Senior year is almost over, and Jamie Peterson has a big problem. Not college—that’s all set. Not prom—he’ll find a date somehow. No, it’s the worst problem of all: he’s fallen for his best friend… read more


One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva

Israeli/Armenian author Michael Barakiva portrays young gay love with verve and sub

Synopsis: Alek Khederian should have guessed something was wrong when his parents took him to a restaurant. Everyone knows that Armenians never eat out. Between bouts of interrogating the waitress and criticizing the menu, Alek’s parents announce that he’ll be attending summer school in order to bring up… read more

Lies My Girlfriend Told Me by Julie Anne Peters

Murder, love, betrayal, jealousy – this lesbian melodrama has it all and more!

Synopsis: When Alix’s charismatic girlfriend, Swanee, dies from sudden cardiac arrest, Alix is overcome with despair. As she searches Swanee’s room for mementos of their relationship, she finds Swanee’s cell phone, pinging with dozens of texts sent from a mysterious contact, L.T… read more





MTV’s New High-school Comdey About Fake-lesbians

Watch the trailer for MTV’s Faking It, a new comedy that aims to break new ground and make life better for LGBTQ youth.

Faking It, is about two teen girls, Amy (Rita Volk) and Karma (Katie Stevens), two unpopular best friends who are mistakenly identified as a lesbian couple by golden gay of their high-school boy Shane (Michael Willett). They are not gay, but quickly come to embrace the label when it transforms them into their school’s most popular girls.

The shows creator Carter Covington says that it might sound like a wild premise, but it’s actually based on many calls he fielded when he worked as a crisis counselor for the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention hotline for LGTBQ youth.

“I was shocked that some of the calls I got from kids who were worried that their friends only liked them because they were gay. It’s not every high school, but attitudes are changing and tolerance is kind of viewed as an expected quality to have in many parts of the country.”

Says Covington.

While older viewers might see this show as out there, Covington doesn’t think that today’s youth will be all that shocked by it.

“For the young people today, this show is not going to be controversial. I genuinely think it’s going to feel like, an exaggerated version, of course, but very much based in the world they live in now. Kids these days don’t see the world through the eyes that I did when I was kid, but the core things stay the same: Who am I? Who do I want to be? How do I want the world to see me? Those things are only accentuated with social media.”

Says Covington.

Covington also says that they chose to do the story with two girls because there’s something special about the closeness of female friendships. But he’d like to think this story could also work with two male characters.

“I hope [it would work with guys]. I do think that there’s still a level of bravado and machismo in society that is there. I would like to think that it’s unattractive for teen males to be bullies. I think there’s a real movement in this country to make that energy not appropriate and I think that’s a good thing. I think it’s going to be really unique on television, I hope.”

Says Covington.

“Faking It” premieres Tuesday, April 22 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on MTV.