LGBTQ Knowledge Assessment Tool
Prepared by Rob Woronoff, MS
CWLA Director, LGBTQ Services
In an effort to offer effective supports and services for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth, the following tool has been developed to assess levels of knowledge and understanding.
Take a few moments to complete the following sections. The tool consists of some definitions, agree/disagree, true or false, and multiple-choice questions. This is not a test. Simply complete each section to the best of your ability.
Define the following:
Refers to a person whose sexual, physical, and affectional attraction is primarily directed toward persons of the same gender. For some, this term may have negative clinical overtones and associations.
Refers to a person whose sexual, physical, and affectional attraction is primarily directed toward persons of the opposite gender. Also referred to as straight.
Refers to a person (either man or woman, although perhaps more commonly associated with males) whose homosexual orientation is self-defined, affirmed, or acknowledged as such. Note: Not all people who acknowledge a homosexual orientation self-identify as gay.
Refers to a woman whose homosexual orientation is self-defined, affirmed, or acknowledged as such (see note above).
Refers to a person whose sexual, physical and affectional attraction is toward people of the same and opposite genders, and who may form intimate relationships with persons of the same and opposite gender, although not necessarily at the same time.
A broad umbrella term for persons who have a self-image or gender identity not traditionally associated with their biological sex. The term encompasses a variety of gender expressions, including drag queens and kings, bi-genders, crossdressers, transgenderists, transvestites, and transsexuals.
Some transgendered persons wish to change their primary or secondary sexual anatomy to be more congruent with their self-perception, whereas others do not have such a desire. There is no absolute correlation between sexual orientation and gender identiy. A transgendered person may identify as heterosexual, gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
Refers to a person for whom a fixed sexual orientation and/or gender identity is not clear. Some questioning individuals may ultimately "come out" as GLBT, whereas others may be seeking additional resources to help address their internal questions. It is not developmentally uncommon for adolescents to question their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Term sometimes used instead of sexual orientation. The word preference may imply that sexual attraction, including same-sex attraction, is generally a matter of conscious choice or mere preference, despite the fact that current research strongly suggests that sexual orientation is not a matter of choice and is a much broader identity and orientation.
The commonly accepted, scientific term for the direction of sexual, emotional, or physical attraction. Examples of sexual orientation are heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality.
An individual's basic self-conviction of being a man or a woman or some combination thereof. This conviction is not contingent upon the individual's biological sex. The exact process by which boys and girls come to see themselves as males or females is not known. Research indicates, however, that gender identity develops, but is not necessarily fixed, some time between birth and 3 years of age.
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Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity are the same thing.
Sexual orientation refers to a person's emotional, physical, or affectional attraction to another person or persons and can include the terms homosexual, heterosexual, or bisexual. Gender identity refers to one's sense of self as a man or a woman or some combination of the two and can include the terms drag queens and drag kings, bi-genders, crossdressers, transgenderists, transvestites, and transsexuals.
Homosexuality is a mental illness.
All major American mental health associations have affirmed that homosexuality is not a mental illness. In 1975, the American Psychological Association urged all psychologists to "take the lead in removing the stigma long associated with homosexual orientations" (APA Policy Statements on lesbian and gay Issues, Discrimination Against Homosexuals). In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association, which had for decades diagnosed homosexuality as a mental/emotional disorder, discarded this classification. Homosexuality was no longer a psychiatric condition included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. This decision was followed by similar ones by the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization. The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes homosexuality as "inherent" in the individual, whether adult or child (Robert E. Owens. 1988. Queer Kid: The Challenges and Promise for Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Youth. New York: Harrington Park Press. pp 3-4).
Sexual Orientation can be changed.
The American Psychological Association's policy, "Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation" (1998), offers a framework for psychologists working with clients who are concerned about the implications of their sexual orientation. The policy highlights those sections of the ethics code that apply to all psychologists working with lesbian, gay, and bisexual clients. These sections include prohibitions against discriminatory practices (for example, basing treatment on pathology-based views of homosexuality or bisexuality) and against misrepresenting scientific or clinical data (such as the unsubstantiated claim that sexual orientation can be changed). (APA website: Guidelines for Psychotherapy with Lesbian, Gay, & Bisexual Clients)
Other professional associations that have issued statements condemning attempts by child welfare and mental health professionals to alter a person's sexual orientation or gender identity through so-called reparative or conversion therapies include the American Psychiatric Association, the National Association of Social Workers, and The American Counseling Association.
Sexual behavior defines sexual orientation.
Sexual behavior does not determine either orientation or identity. The expression and interpretation of same-sex affection depends on the cultural and situational context and personal needs. Individuals engage in sexual behavior for a variety of reasons, such as love and affection, loneliness, experimentation, societal expectations, and coercion (Robert E. Owens. 1988. Queer Kid: The Challenges and Promise for Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Youth. New York: Harrington Park Press. p. 5).
Young people can be convinced to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered by adults.
Since sexual orientation cannot be changed, and sexual behavior (including forced sexual behavior) does not define one's sexual orientation, adults can have no influence on a young person's sexual orientation. What adults can do is act as good role models and provide safe environments for youth, so if young people decide to disclose their sexual orientation, they know the adults who care for them will support them.
Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth face the same levels of risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) as do heterosexual youth.
Among young men ages 13-24, 49% of all AIDS cases reported in 2000 were among men who had sex with men (MSM). In a sample of young MSM ages 15-22 in seven urban areas, researchers found that, overall, 7% were infected with HIV, with higher prevalence among young African American (14%) and Hispanic (7%) men than among young white men (3%). One study in Massachusetts showed that 50% of male-to-female (MTF) transgendered youth trade sex for money or a place to live. Studies on young LGBTQ women show that they have the same risk as MSMs or MTFs; although they may identify as lesbian or bisexual, many also have sex with males-usually with their young male friends who identify as gay or bisexual (Gómez C.A. and Marín B.V. (1996). Gender, Culture, and Power: Barriers to HIV Prevention Strategies for Women. Journal of Sex Research 33 (4):355-362).
True or False
Heterosexual youth get pregnant, or get someone pregnant, more often than do gay, lesbian, or bisexual youth.
Gay, lesbian, or bisexual youth get pregnant or get someone pregnant two-to-three times more often than youth who identify as heterosexual (Goodenow, C. 2003. Violence-Related Experiences of Sexual Minority Youth: Looking at Data from the Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 1995-2001. Springfield: Massachusetts Department of Education).
All people who engage in same-sex behavior identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
Many people who have sex with a member of the same sex do not self-identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual for a variety of reasons. For example, many African American men associate a gay identity with the white community. These men, therefore, may have sex with other men but do not identify as gay. Some of these men are categorized as being on the "down low" or "DL." Likewise, there are many circumstances under which women have sex with one another, but they may not self-identify as lesbian. Some young homeless men engage in survival prostitution with men but may have a heterosexual orientation. Adolescents in congregate care settings may sexually explore with one another, but this does not necessarily mean they will adopt an identity of gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
Gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth are threatened with a weapon at school more often than are heterosexual youth.
Of gay, lesbian, or bisexual youth, 23.5% are threatened with a weapon at school, compared with 7.7% of heterosexual youth. In addition, 19.1% of gay, lesbian, or bisexual youth skip school because they feel unsafe, compared with 5.4% of heterosexual youth (Goodenow, C. 2003. Violence-Related Experiences of Sexual Minority Youth: Looking at Data from the Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 1995-2001. Springfield: Massachusetts Department of Education).
Condom use is the same among African American and Latino gay and bisexual youth as it is among their white counterparts.
A study conducted by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health found that 73% of Latino and 59% of African American young men who have sex with men engaged in unprotected intercourse, compared with 46% of their white counterparts.
In most states, teachers can be fired for being gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
In most states, teachers, as well as other workers, can be fired for being gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Eleven states currently have anti-discrimination laws based on sexual orientation: Wisconsin (1982), Massachusetts (1989), Connecticut (1991), Hawaii (1991), New Jersey (1992), Vermont (1992), California (1992), Minnesota (1993), Rhode Island (1995), New Hampshire (1997), and Nevada (1999). The District of Columbia outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation in 1977.
In the 39 other states, it is still legal for employers to fire or punish employees based on their sexual orientation, despite polls that suggest most Americans believe qualified, hard working people should not lose their jobs just because they are gay or lesbian.
Currently, no federal legislation protects gay, lesbian, or bisexual people from discrimination in the workplace. In 1996, a vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) failed to pass the Senate by one vote. It has, to date, not been reintroduced.
LGBTQ homeless youth leave home nearly twice as often as heterosexual homeless youth.
Eighty-four sexual minorities and 84 straight youth, all homeless, were recruited as part of a Seattle Homeless Adolescent Research and Education Project. Subjects were 13-21 years old when interviewed. Researchers found that sexual minorities reported leaving home an average of 12 times, compared with 7 times for straight homeless youth. They also reported being physically or sexually victimized on average by seven more people than did heterosexual homeless youth. Boys were more likely to have been abused in the past three months, but girls reported more incidents of abuse while they were homeless.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Youth Risk Behavior Survey, gay, bisexual, or lesbian youth are how many time more likely to get pregnant or get someone pregnant than are heterosexual youth?
Three times as likely
According to the survey, 4.3% of heterosexual youth had been pregnant or had gotten someone pregnant, compared with 12.3% of GLB youth.*
According to the CDC's Youth Risk Behavior Survey, gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth are how many times more likely to skip school than are heterosexual youth because they feel unsafe?
Three times as likely
Of heterosexual youth, 5.4% skip school because they feel unsafe, compared with 19.1% of gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth. GLB youth are also threatened with weapons at school three times more often than are heterosexual youth.
According to the CDC's Youth Risk Behavior Survey, gay, bisexual, or lesbian youth are how many time more likely to attempt suicide than are heterosexual youth?
Four times as likely
Seven percent of heterosexual youth had attempted suicide, compared with 29% of GLB youth. GLB youth are five times more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to have two or more suicide attempts, and nearly six times as likely to attempt suicide with injury.
According to a Massachusetts Department of Public Health survey of gay, bisexual, and transgendered youth, what percentage of male-to-female transgendered youth traded sex for money, drugs, or a place to stay?
Employment is a significant issue for transgendered youth. There is little protection from employment discrimination for them, and many employers do not want to hire them, leaving them few options other than survival prostitution. Another barrier to employment is the issue of having personal identity documents that are consistent with gender expression for the purpose of applying for jobs and public assistance.
In how many states is it legal to fire someone for being gay or lesbian?
Workers can be fired for being gay, lesbian, or bisexual in most states. Eleven states currently have anti-discrimination laws based on sexual orientation, and another nine states protect only public employees. Currently, no federal law protects gay, lesbian, or bisexual people from discrimination in the workplace. Currently, only four states offer protection from discrimination based on gender identity. (Note: The Equal Protection clause of the U.S. Constitution protects all government employees, even in states that do not expressly protect gay, lesbian, or bisexual people from workplace discrimination.)
How many residential programs currently exist nationally that are designed to serve LGBTQ youth?
For a number of years, only two residential programs exited in the United States for LGBTQ foster youth: lesbian and gay Adolescent Social Services (GLASS) in Los Angeles, and Green Chimneys in New York City. In recent years, other programs, including Waltham House, a program of The Home for Little Wanderers in Boston, have opened. Green Chimneys and GLASS also offer transitional and independent-living programs for youth over age 18, as do CHRIS Kids Inc.’s Rainbow Programs in Atlanta, Ruth's House in Detroit, and St. Christopher Ottilie in New York. A group home for LGBTQ youth opened in Philadelphia in late 2005. Residential care is growing area of programming for LGBTQ youth.
How many schools currently exist nationally that are designed to serve LGBTQ youth?
The Hetrick-Martin Institute in New York City operates the Harvey Milk School for LGBTQ youth. Green Chimneys incorporates a school program into its Gramercy House residential program, which serves biological males. The Walt Whitman Community School in Dallas has provided educational services to LGBTQ youth since it opened in 1998, but it it ceased operations in 2004.
In what year did the U.S. Supreme Court rule that homosexual sexual conduct was no longer a criminal offense?
As with residential programs, schools designed for LGBTQ youth are often a good alternative for youth for whom mainstream schools and residential programs are not safe. National organizations such as the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and the Safe Schools Coalition are working to ensure the safety of LGBTQ throughout America's educational system.
On July 26, 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all remaining laws, known as sodomy laws, which had made consensual sexual contact between adults of the same sex a crime in many states. In a case known as Lawrence v. Texas, the Court ruled "the liberty protected by the Constitution allows homosexual persons the right to choose to enter upon relationships in the confines of their homes and their own private lives and still retain their dignity as free persons."
In what year did the U.S. Supreme Court legalize interracial marriage?
California became the first state to legalize interracial marriage in 1948. In 1967, in a case known as Loving v. Virginia, the Court ruled that marriage is a fundamental right of U.S. citizens and that states could no longer prohibit two people of different races from marrying. At the time, 74% of American citizens opposed interracial marriage.
In how many states can lesbian and gay couples legally marry?
On June 17, 2004, Massachusetts became the first, and is currently the only, state to legalize marriage between two adults of the same sex. The federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996 defines marriage as between one man and one woman. To date, 39 states have enacted similar laws. Numerous court challenges to states' and the federal DOMA are working their way through the courts.
* The CDC Youth Risk Behavior Survey does not ask questions about gender identity; therefore, no data on transgendered youth are available through this survey.
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