In response to the CDC’s 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance (YRBS) data released in August 2020, “the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) foundation analyzed the data and found that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth are living in a state of crisis.” The HRC’s Project THRIVE aims to build the knowledge, skills, and capacities of all youth-serving organizations to better meet LGBTQ young people’s needs. Project THRIVE initially launched in May 2019 as a multi-year national campaign with the goal of creating more equitable, inclusive support systems and communities for LGBTQ youth.
It is the responsibility and role of youth-serving professionals to address the many disparities that exist, including dismantling anti LGBTQ bias and stigma, especially for LGBTQ youth of color. In a joint statement, the HRC Foundation and 23 Project THRIVE, partners, found significant disparities between LGBTQ youth and their non-LGBTQ peers.
CDC’s YRB data indicated that LGBTQ youth are in need of urgent attention:
● “31% of LGBTQ youth, 43% of transgender youth and 40% of questioning youth have been bullied at school, compared to 16% of their non-LGBTQ peers;
● 24% of LGBTQ youth, 35% of transgender youth, and 41% of questioning youth have skipped school because they felt unsafe at school or on their way to school, compared to 8% of non-LGBTQ youth;
● 54% of LGBTQ youth, 61% of transgender youth, and 61% of questioning youth are battling depressive symptoms, compared to 29% of non-LGBTQ youth;
● 35% of LGBTQ youth, 45% of transgender youth, and 40% of questioning youth have seriously considering attempting suicide, compared to 13% of non-LGBTQ youth.”
Project THRIVE is a collaborative effort of 23 national organizations, including CWLA, each committed to identifying opportunities within their own sphere of influence to increase awareness about and provide resources to address the unmet needs of LGBTQ youth and highlight best practices and success stories from their respective professional fields. The HRC’s Project Thrive includes a checklist for creating safe and inclusive environments for LGBTQ+ Youth, ensuring that policies and procedures, professional development, climate and culture, resources, and more are equitable and developmentally appropriate.