Occurring between academic calendar years, summertime provides a window of opportunity for children and youth. This yearly interval presents a departure from structure, resources, and support systems that are typically available during the school year. Summertime experiences can affect cognitive, health, social, emotional, and safety outcomes for children and youth, with those who part of the LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) community at risk for worse outcomes. Children and youth who are LGBTQ+ face increased challenges and stigma in accessing quality summertime experiences.
Opportunities and challenges are presented to guardians and caretakers of children and youth part of the LGBTQ+ community. Efforts to improve the well-being amongst LGBTQ+ youth, with the support of a guardian and caretakers, enables access to experiences and settings that support developmental assets and well-being.
How Can Guardians & Caretakers Demonstrate Practices Into The Summer for LGBTQ+ Youth?
- Offer your acceptance and love
Nothing is more important than youth feeling safe and accepted. Research from The Trevor Project’s 2021 National Survey of LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempted suicide in the past year. It is important for LGBTQ kids to feel supported by families, caretakers, and communities. With the support, youth have greater self-esteem and a lower risk of negative outcomes.
- Ask open-ended questions & listen
Even if you feel uncomfortable, talking with children about their identity can encourage them to share their experiences, and demonstrates your support for them. Open communication is a form of validation for children.
- Advocate for their identity
Youth who are mistreated for their identity are more likely to feel accepted when a guardian has their back. Shut down anti-LGBTQ behavior and remarks. There are many ways to advocate for healthy expression of their identity including but not limited to: supporting a child’s gender expression, learning identity terminology, and ensuring others respect their representation. Advocacy in our own communities can change attitudes and being inclusive means that we are working to create safe and welcoming spaces.
- Connect youth with LGBTQ mentors
LGBTQ+ community organizations, youth mentors, and adult role models are just a few of the options for youth to thrive. These outlets can give children access to
LGBTQ events, friends, and pop culture. You can find resources on how to further support LGBTQ children during pride month and further on through the links provided:
https://www.thetrevorproject.org https://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth/youth-resources.htm https://www.familyequality.org/virtual-events-for-lgbtq-families/
This Pride month and beyond, Swishboom celebrates LGBTQ+ children and youth, babysitters, parents, and communities. At Swishboom we believe that every LGBTQ young person deserves the opportunity to have a safe, welcoming, and meaningful summertime (and beyond) experience.
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, et al. Shaping Summertime Experiences: Opportunities to Promote Healthy Development and Well-Being for Children and Youth. National Academies Press,
2019. EBSCOhost, https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=shib&db=e000xna&AN=2365942&site=ehost-live.