Supporting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Trans young people in care

Information for foster carers

 
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Being a teenager can be hard,

 

Being a teenager in care can be really hard

 

Being an LGBT teenager in care can be extremely hard.

As a Foster Carer it’s important that you let young people know that they can trust you and that they know that you will be supportive with whatever issues they need help with.

It’s important too that you know there is support for you and that you can contact someone who will be able to help you to support young people in your care.

Discussing matters such as these provoke a variety of emotions and reactions, both positive and negative. You may need to set aside plenty of time.

Remember the young person you are talking to is still the same person you have always known and loved so be proud of them and the fact that they have chosen to confide in you. Remember also that coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans is a life-long process.

DON’T assume that every young person in your care is hetrosexual or ‘straight’

DO Challenge homophobia, biphobia & transphobic language if you hear it.

DON’T impose gender stereotypes on young people (e.g: dolls are for girls, soldiers are for boys)

DO encourage young people to follow their own interests.

DON’T push young people into discussing LGBT issues if they don’t want to and DON’T pressure them into Coming Out.

DO make information easily available to young people. They may benefit from contacting support groups and organisations independently

DON’T feel that you are expected to have all the answers

DO make use of the services listed on this website.

DO be prepared to learn a new language when it comes to understanding and discussing issues of sexuality, sexual orientation and gender identity.

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There are many things you can do to help support young LGBT people and help them feel supported. Ensure that they don’t feel isolated and help them enjoy the things that they are interested in.

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Lgbtyouthincare.com

Lgbtyouthincare.com is a group of individuals working to support lgbtqi+ young people in care. At Three Circles Fostering we work closely with other agencies to develop the lgbtyouthincare website. We also run an LGBT Youth in Care group with The Proud Trust called 'KIC-Out'. The news and events delivered by this group can be found on the website.

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trans youth in care

Three Circles Fostering have developed a toolkit for social care professionals. Trans Youth in Care. Go to lgbtyouthincare.com for more information

The proud trust

The Proud Trust is a life saving and life enhancing organisation that helps young people empower themselves to make a positive change for themselves and their communities.

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Advocate for the young people in your care and sure that the professionals you work with are LGBT affirmative and display literature that is inclusive of LGBT people.

Celebrate

There are many things you can do to help support young LGBT people and help them feel supported. Ensure that they don’t feel isolated and help them enjoy the things that they are interested in.

  • Advocate for the young people in your care and sure that the professionals you work with are LGBT affirmative and display literature that is inclusive of LGBT people.
  • Ensure that all activities that young people engage in are pro-active in promoting equal opportunities and are safe places for LGBT staff and service users to be.
  • Find out what LGBT groups are in your area, these may include social and support groups, sports and special interest groups, online groups, Pride events etc.
  • Get educated about LGBT History, this will help you understand some of the issues people face and encourage young people to relize that they are part of a vibrant and diverse community.
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Celebrate gay culture. To celebrate and promote gay culture as something to be proud of. 

Glossary

BIPHOBIA hatred or fear of people who are bisexual.

BISEXUAL someone attracted to people of the same and/or the opposite gender.

GAY a man or a woman who is attracted to people of the same gender.

HETEROSEXISM attitudes, bias and discrimination in favour of heterosexual orientation.

HOMOPHOBIA hatred/fear of people who are gay or lesbian or are perceived to be.

LESBIAN a woman attracted to other women. May identify also as a gay woman.

LGB abbreviation of lesbian, gay and bisexual.

LGB&T abbreviation of lesbian, gay and bisexual and trans.

SEXUAL ORIENTATION a way of describing those you are emotionally and sexually attracted to.

TRANS umbrella term to describe people whose gender identity and/or expression differs from that which they were assigned at birth.

TRANSPHOBIA hatred or fear of trans people or people whos gender identity and/or expression differs from the identity they were assigned at birth

Facts

  • All LGBT people are individuals
  • There are LGBT people in every walk of life, every culture and who follow all known religions, faiths and beliefs.
  • Don’t assume that all LGBT people will be affected by the same issues but understand that there my be certain things that they may need support with.
  • Nothing you can do can stop young people feeling the way they do if they are attracted to someone of the same sex but everything you do to support them will be helpful.
  • Trans people should be able to express their gender identities and lead happy, fulfilled lives.
  • Gender identity disorder is a diagnosable condition and there is support available
  • Homosexuality is not a mental illness. Nor can it be ‘cured’. Indeed, so-called reparative or conversion therapies intended to change a same sex sexual orientation have been criticized by all major mental health organisations as ineffective and potentially harmful.
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    All LGBT people are individuals

    There are LGBT people in every walk of life, every culture and who follow all known religions, faiths and beliefs.

    Support

    • There are groups for Parents, Families and Friends of LGBT people and many people say connecting with other parents of LGBT young people helps them progress their understanding of what it’s like gorwing up as lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans.
    • Understand that being LGBT does not impact on a person’s ability to be spiritual or religious any more than being a heterosexual does. There are many LGBT faith groups of all denominations.
    • Many LGBT people fear negative reactions from others because of their sexual orientation or gender identity issues and many youg people face verbal and physical abuse from their peers, families and in adult life. Ensure that your foster child is safe at school and in the community.
    • Being LGBT is no barrier to getting on in life and indeed there are many successful people in all areas of professional life who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans.

    Groups

    • www.mermaidsuk.org.uk. National charity that connects and supports young trans people and their families
    • GIRES (www.gires.org.uk) is a national body that examines the science around gender and trans individuals. Gires produces a wide range of resources for schools and other public bodies, including a toolkit on combating transphobic bullying and an e-learning package
    • The Gender Identity Development Service Tavistock and Portman clinic http://gids.nhs.uk/ For children and young people (up to the age of 18) and their families w a n t i n g t o a c c e s s m e d i c a l transition services.
    • The Proud Trust - home of LGBT youth. www.theproudtrust.org
    • LGBT Youth in Care www.lgbtyouthincare.com
    • The LGBT Foundation lgbt.foundation
    • Albert kennedy Trust: Support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans homeless young people in crisis www.akt.org.uk