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The Transformative Power of Intersectionality: Intersectional Practices to Promote Social Justice and Reduce Inequalities

June 29, 2023

How can intersectional approaches to reducing inequalities be applied in practice? Eleven of our partner organizations from our Support Program „Reducing Inequalities through Intersectional Practice" addressed this question. Their experiences, suggestions and insights have now been captured in an e-booklet on Intersectionality.  for anyone working to promote social justice. In 10 chapters, it addresses intersectionality in different contexts and offers insights into the intersectional practices of partners and the reflections, insights and demands that emerged from the program. With this publication, the Robert Bosch Stiftung wants to increase visibility for successful intersectional approaches in social change work and contribute to the widespread application of intersectionality in practice.

2021 Tracking Report: LGBTQ Grantmaking by U.S. Foundations

June 26, 2023

This report explores the scope and character of U.S. foundation funding for LGBTQ communities and issues in calendar years 2019-2020. This 18th edition of the tracking report represents the next iteration of work from Funders for LGBTQ Issues in our ongoing effort to document the scale of philanthropic support for LGBTQ communities and issues.Our research finds that foundation funding reached a new high of $252 million in 2021. However, this does not tell the full story, as the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ community did not necessarily see this benefit. Funding to transgender, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary communities, Black LGBTQ communities, and Southeastern LGBTQ communities has not increased commensurate with total LGBTQ funding. As a sector, we also continue to see an increase in overall foundation funding, meaning that even at this new high, for every $100 awarded by U.S. foundations in 2021, only 28 cents specifically supported LGBTQ communities and issues.

Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Recommendations

May 18, 2023

The Northeast Wisconsin Mental Health Connection (The Connection) has shared a new report on recommendations to improve the mental health of adults in the Fox Valley. Raising the minimum wage; increasing walk-in services for mental health care; speeding up the state licensure approval process for new therapists; and adopting social connectedness strategies are among the more than 40 recommendations outlined in the report. The recommendations are based on findings from the 2021 Mind Your Wellness Survey, a local survey conducted by The Connection that was designed to collect population-level data on several mental health and suicide-related indicators. A total of 1,259 adults from Calumet, Outagamie and Winnebago counties took the survey during the pandemic. The impetus for the survey was the alarming – and growing – suicide rate in the Fox Valley, which increased by 66 percent between 2010 and 2018. The pandemic only exacerbated mental health challenges for the overall population.

Beyond Measure: Gun Violence Trauma

May 17, 2023

When we think about gun violence as a public health epidemic, we often think about the numbers: Every day in the United States, 120 people are killed with guns and more than 200 are shot and wounded. But what are the experiences behind these metrics? How do survivors and their communities cope in the aftermath of gun violence? What are the immediate and lasting impacts of trauma from gun violence? An understanding of these questions cannot be gained with numbers alone. Far less attention has been dedicated to understanding the experiences of gun violence on survivors. For this reason, this study fills a critical gap in research by focusing on trauma from gun violence by listening to the voices and experiences of those directly impacted.This report is divided into six sections. We discuss the aftermath of gun violence, the impacts of trauma on safety and fear, the ripple effects of gun violence and trauma in communities, support services to cope with trauma, post-traumatic growth, and recommendations to better support survivors of gun violence. We hope to honor the power of the voices of gun violence survivors by elevating their experiences, their stories, and their journeys.

The Relationship Between Caring Teachers and the Mental Health of LGBTQ Students

May 10, 2023

Schools and the professionals who work within them play key roles in the lives of LGBTQ young people. Teachers, professors, and school counselors are important sources of information, support, and care for LGBTQ students, especially in the absence of support from their families or local communities. LGBTQ students who  identified a greater number of supportive school staff reported higher levels of self-esteem, lower levels of depression, and lower rates of having seriously considered suicide in the past year (Kosciw et al., 2022). Among LGBQ students, having caring teachers is associated with lower levels of negative mental health symptoms (Parmar et al., 2022). Using data from The Trevor Project's 2023 U.S. National Survey on the Mental Health of LGBTQ Young People, this brief examines the relationships between caring teachers and student mental health, including transgender and nonbinary students, as well as demographic differences in LGBTQ young people's access to caring relationships in schools. This brief additionally investigates rates of LGBTQ young people who report learning about LGBTQ topics from school staff and associations between learning about LGBTQ topics and mental health. 

Middle Eastern and Northern African LGBTQ Young People

April 20, 2023

LGBTQ young people are more likely to report mental health concerns – including  depression, anxiety, and suicidality – in comparison to their straight and cisgender peers (Johns et al., 2019; Johns et al., 2020). These reports are often due to minority stress experiences, such as identity-related discrimination and victimization, rather than simply being LGBTQ (Meyer, 2003). After a call for intersectional research on health disparities by the National Institutes of Health (NIH, 2015), some research has begun to illuminate the impact of having multiple marginalized identities (e.g., being LGBTQ and a person of color) on mental health outcomes (Cyrus, 2017). However, very little research has explored the mental health of Middle Eastern and Northern African (MENA) LGBTQ young people (Hayek et al., 2022). Despite representing over 20 countries and being considered non-White by the majority of other Western countries (Maghbouleh et al., 2022), MENA people have historically been considered both a monolithic population in the United States (U.S.) and White by the U.S. Census (Abboud et al., 2019). Thus, little research has explored the mental health of MENA people, as they are often combined with White people in literature. However, a systematic review found that MENA LGBTQ people frequently report symptoms of depression and posttraumatic stress, suicidal ideation, and substance misuse, which is often tied to societal and cultural stressors that are unique to MENA people, such as a lack of sexual health awareness and anti-LGBTQ stigma and persecution (Hayek et al., 2022). Specific to young people, research by GLSEN suggests that MENA LGBTQ young people experience higher rates of school-based victimization than their non-MENA peers, which is related to depressive symptoms and poor self-esteem (Truong & Kosciw, 2022). Using data from The Trevor Project's 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, this brief will be one of the first to exclusively explore the mental health of MENA LGBTQ young people, separately from White LGBTQ young people.

Technologist Retention at the Intersections

April 12, 2023

GET Cities' first-of-its kind research on the experiences of women, trans, nonbinary, and genderqueer technologists – particularly those who are also Black or Latina/e – aims to learn more about why technologists of multiple identities choose to stay in their jobs, move to better opportunities, or leave the industry all together.We encourage anyone working toward equity in tech to continue to ask these questions, demand better intersectional research, and to take the steps to get closer to parity of representation and positive and fruitful experiences for all people in tech.

Age of Gender Identity Outness and Suicide Risk

March 29, 2023

"Coming out" is everyday language for the process of sharing one's sexual orientation or gender identity with other people. The decision of when and how to come out – or not – is deeply personal, and can change over the course of an individual's lifetime. For transgender and nonbinary (TGNB) individuals, sharing the details of one's gender identity or history with friends, family, and acquaintances can be complex. On a basic level, TGNB people do not always have the option to come out to others — sometimes they are forcibly outed by their documentation, medical records, or physical appearance (Beemyn & Bauer, 2015). TGNB people may also only be out about their gender identity in certain spaces or spheres of their life where they feel safe being open with others (Klein et al., 2015). While little research has specifically examined gender identity outness, outness of ones' LGBTQ identity more broadly is associated with mixed mental health outcomes among young people. Sexual orientation outness is associated with high levels of suicide risk among LGBTQ young people, despite society becoming more LGBTQ-affirming over time (Meyer et al., 2021). This is likely due to increased exposure to anti-LGBTQ language, discrimination, and violence after one comes out as LGBTQ. Indeed, LGBTQ young people who are more out about their sexual orientation report higher levels of victimization in school, compared to their peers who are less out (Kosciw et al., 2015; Poteat et al., 2022). Furthermore, given that coming out earlier places young people at greater risk for anti-LGBTQ victimization, it has therefore been  associated with increased risk for suicide, as documented in our previous research brief, "Age of Sexual Orientation Outness and Suicide Risk". However, being out about one's LGBTQ identity can also be protective, as LGBTQ young people with higher levels of outness also report higher self-esteem and lower rates of depression (Kosciw et al., 2015). It is unclear if similar findings hold true for TGNB young people coming out about their gender identity. Using data from The Trevor Project's 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, this brief examines the association between a TGNB young person's age of coming out about their gender identity and suicide risk.

Mental Health of Black Transgender and Nonbinary Young People

February 28, 2023

Despite overall rates of suicidality among young people trending downward for the past 30 years, Black young people have experienced an increase in suicide attempts (Lindsey et al., 2019), with suicide rates among  Black young people increasing 37% between 2018 and 2021 (Stone & Mack, 2023). Due to the already existing higher rates of suicide among transgender and nonbinary young people (Johns et al., 2019), even in comparison to their cisgender lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and questioning (LGBQ) peers, the intersection of being both Black and transgender or nonbinary may make young people more susceptible to negative experiences and chronic stress stemming from their multiple marginalized social statuses (Bowleg & Bauer, 2014; Jones & Neblett, 2017). While studies have demonstrated this in samples of transgender and nonbinary young people of color (Chan et al., 2022; Vance et al., 2021), research has largely failed to explore the mental health of Black transgender and nonbinary young people. Using data from The Trevor Project's 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, this brief seeks to expand our understanding of Black young people's mental health by specifically exploring mental health indicators and protective factors among Black transgender and nonbinary young people.

“This Is Why We Became Activists”: Violence Against Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer Women and Non-Binary People

February 14, 2023

According to interviews Human Rights Watch conducted with 66 lesbian, bisexual, and queer (LBQ+) activists, researchers, lawyers, and movement leaders in 26 countries between March and September 2022, forced marriage is one of ten key areas of human rights abuses most affecting LBQ+ women's lives. Human Rights Watch identified the following areas of LBQ+ rights as those in need of immediate investigation, advocacy, and policy reform. This report explores how the denial of LBQ+ people's rights in these ten areas impacts their lives and harms their ability to exercise and enjoy the advancement of more traditionally recognized LGBT rights and women's rights:the right to free and full consent to marriage;land, housing, and property rights;freedom from violence based on gender expression;freedom from violence and discrimination at work;freedom of movement and the right to appear in public without fear of violence;parental rights and the right to create a family;the right to asylum;the right to health, including services for sexual, reproductive, and mental health;protection and recognition as human rights defenders; andaccess to justice.This investigation sought to analyze how and in what circumstances the rights of LBQ+ people are violated, centering LBQ+ identity as the primary modality for inclusion in the report. Gender-nonconforming, non-binary, and transgender people who identify as LBQ+ were naturally included. At the same time, a key finding of the report is that the fixed categories "cisgender" and "transgender" are ill-suited for documenting LBQ+ rights violations, movements, and struggles for justice. As will be seen in this report, people assigned female at birth bear the weight of highly gendered expectations which include marrying and having children with cisgender men, and are punished in a wide range of ways for failing or refusing to meet these expectations. Many LBQ+ people intentionally decenter cisgender men from their personal, romantic, sexual, and economic lives. In this way, the identity LBQ+ itself is a transgression of gendered norms. Whether or not an LBQ+ person identifies as transgender as it is popularly conceptualized, the rigidly binary (and often violently enforced) gender boundaries outside of which LBQ+ people already live, regardless of their gender identity, may help to explain why the allegedly clear division between "cisgender" and "transgender" categories simply does not work for many LBQ+ communities. This report aims to explore and uplift, rather than deny, that reality.

LGBTQ Youth and Body Dissatisfaction

January 30, 2023

Each new year, it is common for individuals to make resolutions associated with a personal goal, such as losing weight (Norcross et al., 2002). Although weight-based resolutions can lead to healthy changes for some, other people may find that resolutions contribute to unhealthy weight-control behaviors or body dissatisfaction, which can be defined as having negative attitudes and evaluations about one's body. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people often report higher rates of unhealthy weight control and eating behaviors, eating disorders (see our brief on Eating Disorders for more information), and body dissatisfaction compared to their straight, cisgender peers (Parker & Harriger, 2020). These issues are of particular concern for transgender and nonbinary youth, who report even higher rates of poor body esteem (Grossman & D'Augelli, 2007). That said, many transgender and nonbinary youth have also reported that their body dissatisfaction and disordered eating behaviors are associated with transgender-specific experiences, such as gender dysphoria and attempts to change one's body or secondary sex characteristics (e.g., breast growth, widening of hips) to better match their gender identity (Jones et al., 2016). Transgender and nonbinary youth also report improved body satisfaction after receiving gender-affirming medical care (Tordoff et al., 2022). While previous research has found that poor body esteem is associated with attempting suicide among transgender youth (Grossman & D'Augelli, 2007), findings have not been replicated with a large, national sample, and data among LGB youth remains limited. Using the Trevor Project's 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, this brief aims to fill these gaps, examining rates of body dissatisfaction and its relationship with suicidality among a diverse national sample of LGBTQ youth.

2023 State of Sex Education Legislative Look-Ahead

January 26, 2023

2022 was a year of countless attacks on the social fabric of our country, particularly at the state and local level. Sex education, LGBTQAI+ rights, transgender rights, and racial justice advocates saw a sudden flurry of hate-based bills filed that attacked vulnerable students, public school curriculum, and libraries. In fact, SIECUS observed a 438% increase in so-called "divisive concept" curriculum censorship legislation in 2022 as compared to 2021. Additionally, over 140 so-called "parental rights'' bills were introduced in 2022 seeking to weaponize conservative litigation against public schools using fear-based tactics to misguide parents.Navigating this complex sociopolitical landscape will be an arduous but necessary task for advocates working to advance sex education in the upcoming session. SIECUS believes that access to accurate and comprehensive sexual health information is not only key to improving sexual and reproductive health outcomes, but is essential for the health and well-being of young people.This legislative report will review the past year's legislation since the release of SIECUS's State Legislative Mid-Year Report and will give an overview of expected legislative trends for 2023.