The Rights of LGBTQ+ Youth and their Families Must Be Protected

Reprinted from MENTOR

MENTOR Opposes Discriminatory Legislation and Censorship Attempts Across the Country

March 4, 2022 – As an organization committed to expanding and supporting positive relationships and identity formation for our nation’s young people, MENTOR takes a stand against the recent discriminatory legislation that ostracizes and discriminates against LGBTQ+ youth. These policies are a shocking display of government overreach that is completely antithetical to what young people need today to strive and thrive.

According to MENTOR’s LGBTQ+ supplement to the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring, more than half of our nation’s 3.2 million young people experience discrimination and other risk factors that can hamper their healthy development, including bias, bullying, rejection, homelessness, depression, suicidality, and other risk-taking behaviors. Recent legislation and other actions stripping the rights and healthcare of LGBTQ+ youth, and especially transgender young people, will only create a more hostile, and potentially threatening environment to their physical and mental health. It is unacceptable for our adult elected leaders to use their platforms to attack LGBTQ+ youth and their families at a time when they need support from caring adults more than ever during a global pandemic, disrupted educations and social connections, and recent racial unrest.

Despite this, dozens of state legislatures have introduced and enacted hundreds of bills to bar participation by transgender students in school sports, forbid them from using the restroom at their school consistent with their gender identity, and limit their rights to gender-affirming medical care, an action that is estimated to impact more than 45,000 youth alone, among others. Additional proposals seek to censor LGBTQ+ history and content in school curriculum — further ostracizing these students  –while school boards across the country are seeking to pull books from libraries about gender, sexuality, and race. These unprecedented efforts prohibit young people from exploring and understanding the world around them at a time when they are forming their identities and need to be expanding their knowledge and webs of support.

MENTOR believes that young people deserve healthy, caring relationships with adults to support their growth and identity development, and in order for mentors and families to provide adequate support for young people, it is essential that they ensure a safe space for their identities. We flatly reject any policies that target the identity and humanity of any young person, or deprives them of intellectual freedom and basic human rights. We call on all of our country’s adults to stand with LGBTQ+ youth, their families, and those who protect and support their healthy growth, development, and success.

Resources to support LGBTQ+ youth

To access the resource, please click here.