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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Creating Safe Spaces for GLBTQ+ Youth

I attended a training session today sponsored by the AIDS Resource Center entitled Creating Safe Spaces for GLBTQ+ Youth in the Chippewa Valley.  GLBTQ stands for Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Transgender and Questioning/Queer.  The room was full of people from around the area, including several librarians (yay, librarians!).  It was a useful training, and I would have happily stayed for longer than the two hours allotted.

I think it is our responsibility as librarians who work with teens to try to get up to speed on what issues GLBTQ youth are facing and how we can create safer spaces for them in our libraries.  Health disparities for GLB youth in Wisconsin are stark, according to the WI Department of Health Services.  They are 5 times more likely to attempt suicide or get injured in a fight.  Four times greater odds of having sex before the age of 13.  Three times more likely to skip school because they feel unsafe.  And half as likely to feel they belong in school.  Source.

The trainers shared some tips for people who work with GLBTQ youth (and if you work with youth, you work with GLBTQ youth).  Take a look here and here.  And June is ALA's GLBT Book Month (Thanks to my colleague Pam Gardow for sharing that information).

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