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Study says to engage rural LBGTQ youth, tackle multitude of issues

Five issues resonated the most for the next generation of LGBTQ activists: police use of force, conversion therapy (meant to change an individual’s sexual orientation), pay inequality, lived equality for transgender individuals and preservation of land, water and wildlife.

It’s never just about access to the CR/toilet.

Five issues resonated the most for the next generation of LGBTQ activists: police use of force, conversion therapy (meant to change an individual’s sexual orientation), pay inequality, lived equality for transgender individuals and preservation of land, water and wildlife.

This is according to researchers from West Virginia University and the University of Kansas, who engaged with rural LGBTQ youth to better understand their aspirations for the movement’s future. And after surveying young adults ages 18 to 29 who attended a lobbying organization’s annual leadership symposium in the US, they found that “there are so many issues on the forefront of these young peoples’ minds,” WVU Assistant Professor of Social Work Megan Gandy-Guedes said. “It really emphasizes that if organizers are going to engage these young people, they need to engage them with a multitude of issues in mind.”

While done in the US, the study rings true in a country like the Philippines. For instance, while recent development over-focused LGBTQIA struggle to the access (or lack of it) of transgender people to toilets befitting their gender identity, a handful of LGBTQIA leaders have already been highlighting that the discrimination encountered by LGBTQIA people go beyond the toilet/lavatory/comfort room.

In the US study, the young adults’ motivations for getting involved in activism included a desire to help other LGBTQ individuals, experiences with or fears of isolation and victimization, and societal influence. The researchers noted that these concerns were shared by individuals who had experienced multiple levels of marginalization.

“Because of the way people talked about their interests in social change and activism, they weren’t issues that just affected LGBTQ people. The issues affected LGBTQ people across different identities and people outside of the LBGTQ community,” KU Assistant Professor of Social Welfare Megan Paceley said. “It wasn’t just LGBTQ marginalization. It was gender, sexuality, race, economic status or a combination of these things.”

In the end, “to engage with the next generation of activists, you have to approach social justice issues from a multitude of identities and come at it from a multitude of outcomes in mind,” Gandy-Guedes said.




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