Recommendations for Sensitive Care of GLBQ Adolescents
While it is important to recognize that GLBQ youth are an at-risk population, it is essential that providers avoid a narrow view of these adolescents and provide them with the same sensitive, individualized, comprehensive care as they would other adolescents (Catallozzi & Rudy, 2004; Coker, Austin, & Schuster, 2010; Garofolo & Katz, 2001).
A number of resources are available online and in print that clinicians may find useful in developing their skills with GLBQ individuals.
Providers using Bright Futures, however, should be aware that the guidelines contain limited information on the care of GLBQ adolescents; they echo the findings of Frankowski and AAP Committee on Adolescents (2004) and are not consistent with recommendations based upon this literature review.
Compared to heterosexual youth, GLBQ adolescents engage disproportionately in a variety of health risk behaviors and are at risk for numerous negative health outcomes.
However, extant literature indicates that by integrating social and sexual history-taking techniques into preventative care encounters with all adolescents, primary care providers can increase identification of GLBQ adolescents to better serve the needs of this population.
Because of the variety of parental values around these issues, discussions by either heterosexual or GLBQ staff about their view or experiences are not appropriate.
Two studies in the states of Washington and Massachusetts (1995, 1997) found GLBQ youth to be five times more likely to experience violence and harassment, twice as likely to partake in heavy drug use, and seven times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.
After Anna, we wondered how many GLBQ youth actually came through our programs and whether or not we were inadvertently reinforcing such statistics.
Before we could begin finding the answers to this question, we had to agree that our programs must support all youth, including those who may be GLBQ. This challenged us to understand our own limitations regarding sexuality issues.
Having these words included provided a rationale for creating safe environments for GLBQ youth and staff in our program areas.
Campers may not identify as being GLBQ themselves, but may have GLBQ parents.