In an ongoing effort to stay connected with OASOS, Boulder County’s LGBTIQ group for youth ages 13-18, we will repost the quarterly update newsletter from them here.
Boulder Group, Wednesdays, 6:00-8:30 p.m.
Longmont Group, Thursdays, 4:00-6:00 p.m.
Weekly groups provide peer-based support groups, education & advocacy, connection to community groups & services, trained LGBTIQ adult role models, leadership development, and more.
Wednesdays, 5:00-6:00 p.m., Boulder
This youth governing board meets a minimum of twice a month. Youth interview all new OASOS adult facilitators, plan OASOS large groups and events, and much more! All youth are welcome to attend.
To learn more about OASOS youth groups, youth leadership programs, and events, please contact OASOS program specialist Heather Crate (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 303.678.6259.
A letter by Jeffrey J. Zayach, public health director for Boulder County Public Health:
Support Boulder’s youth: We must work to stop bullying over sexual orientation
By Jeffrey J. Zayach, for the Colorado Daily
Posted: 10/06/2010 10:31:09 PM MDT
I write this with a heavy heart after hearing of seven young people who, in the last month, took their own lives because of the bullying and taunting they endured.
While these young people did not live in Boulder County, their experiences reflect what many of our own young people must deal with everyday in our community. That is inexcusable, and it is our responsibility as a community to ensure that all persons, regardless of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, income, or gender, are treated with respect and dignity.
Results from the 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey showed that, as it has in previous years, disparities are especially pronounced along the line of sexual orientation.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning students have higher prevalence rates than heterosexual students of feeling sad or hopeless, and of considering and attempting suicide. Sadly, data tells us that fewer LGBQ students than heterosexual students have someone they can talk to when they are feeling sad or hopeless or get help when they feel that way.
Much of the cause for this disproportionate impact stems from these youth not feeling accepted and/or being singled out or harassed, and that behavior leads to poor health outcomes in our community.
Boulder County Public Health and our community stakeholders have been working for many years to foster safe environments for self-expression, gathering and dialogue. In fact, our Open & Affirming Sexual Orientation & gender identity Support (OASOS) Program was developed specifically to address the health impacts and risky behavior that disproportionately affects our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.
OASOS aims to increase healthy behaviors and decrease risky behaviors among LGBT youth through support, advocacy and education. From a public health and social justice perspective, the treatment of all members of our community with respect and dignity is a must.
I urge you to discuss the issues of bullying (including cyber-bullying) and harassment with your children, grandchildren, students and friends so we can prevent tragic deaths like this. OASOS can be reached at 303.678.6259.
Let’s all do our part to ensure that our youth – regardless of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, income, or gender – are supported within and by our community.
Anti-Bullying/Discrimination and LGBTIQ Trainings
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and questioning (LGBTIQ) students are at much greater risk of harassment and abuse at school. In fact, a recent nationwide survey reported that over 83% of LGBTIQ students reported verbal harassment at school. Over 21% of all LGBTIQ youth reported being punched, kicked, or injured with a weapon at school because of their sexual orientation.
The consequences of physical and verbal abuse directed at LGBTIQ students include truancy, school dropout, and poor grades. In one study, 28% of gay and bisexual youth dropped out of school due to peer harassment.
OASOS offers on-site training for teachers, administrators, counselors, staff, and community members who want to learn more about LGBTIQ youth. We can tailor free professional growth workshops to fit your needs, including:
· Strategies to stop harassment and positively transform school climate.
· Steps to make schools more inclusive of LGBTIQ and other diverse families.
· Understanding and meeting the needs of self-identified transgender children and their families.
· Appropriate issues for the elementary classroom – family diversity, gender expression, and stopping name-calling and bullying.
· Infusing curriculum to be more inclusive of diverse families.
To schedule a training, please contact OASOS program coordinator Heather Crate (email@example.com) at 303.678.6259.