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Youth Sector does not help Gay youth enough

by Redaktie in Health & Body , 21 January 2015

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

This is the conclusion of a new survey by The Netherlands Centre for Social Development Movisie and the Dutch the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports (VWS) on the attention that the youth sector gives to youth that is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, and youth with an intersex condition.

This new survey 'Jong en anders'(Young and Different) shows that almost half of the professionals who work with young people do not see or hardly see that homosexual young people are struggling with their feelings. The survey also shows that they do not recognize this group of young people, that they do not talk to them about their feelings, and that they cannot offer them help. These professionals shy away from the subject and find it difficult to guide young people in their coming out. Movisie and The Netherlands Youth Institute NJi conclude that knowledge in the youth sector is lacking, and that young LGBTIs – who are already struggling - too often do not get any help at all.

Homosexual youth? They do not come to us

These young people are not noticed by professionals. Often, it is hard to recognise them, as one in four boys, and one in eight girls hide their true feelings. They do not make an effort to be seen as lesbian, homosexual or bisexual, and their struggle remains unnoticed by 41 percent of youth workers. 64 percent do not know how to spot transgender feelings, and youth with an intersex condition are not recognised by any of the professionals. One of them concludes that "it is impossible to recognize something you are unfamiliar with."

Professionals are of the opinion that being gay is too 'normal' to discuss

For the majority of professionals, a non-heterosexual preference is not a taboo, but rather quite 'normal'. This seems like good news, but it is also the reason why many professionals are ignoring the subject. They think that it is better not to talk about the subject, in order not to 'make it more special than it really is'. But for young people, it is a big deal to find out that they have lesbian, homosexual or bisexual feelings.

They usually carry those feelings with them for several years before they feel confident enough to talk to someone about it. Professionals are also afraid to embarrass young people when expressing their suspicions, as they may be wrong. Also, they find such conversations difficult.


In our youngest issue, Gay News 344, April/ May/ June/ July 2020



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