LGBTQ2+ Youth at StepStones

At StepStones for Youth, we believe in creating a safe and supportive environment for all youth, volunteers, staff and community partners who are a part of the LGBT2Q+ community. We are committed to continuing listening, evaluating, revising, and renewing our processes and strategies to ensure that we are an organization where everyone can unlock their full potential, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Below is a brief summary of the work we are currently doing to support LGBTQ2+ youth:

Our Current Impact

  • Staff are trained in anti-oppressive and anti-homophobic practice
  • We provide training to mentors in order for them to gain an understanding and to ensure they are prepared to support LGBT2Q+ youth
  • We have all youth, volunteers and staff sign a code of conduct that includes respecting and celebrating everyone’s sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • We have a partnership with a Youth Outreach Worker who specializes in LGBT2Q+ issues and in supporting youth who identify as LGBT2Q+. Youth are able to call or text this individual regularly. 
  • We have representation on our board and within our volunteer community and encourage LGBT2Q+ applicants for all job postings.
  • Our offices and meeting places are  LGBT2Q+ positive spaces with signs to indicate this in our physical space and on our website
  • All staff are required to use inclusive language
  • We ensure our staff does not engage in using heterocentric language. For example, we refer to family structures by asking youth who their “guardians” are or the “adults that they live with” and all staff use the term “partner”
  • We have an anti-discrimination policy that clearly upholds the rights of the LGBT2Q+ population who are serviced by our organization as well as those  who work and volunteer for us. This includes sexual orientation as well as gender identity
  • We refer to youth, staff, and volunteers by their preferred pronouns
  • We have specific and supportive resources online dedicated to youth in the LGBT2Q+ population that can easily be found 
  • We ensure that books and educational resources provided to youth, identify that there are numerous family structures and include same-sex couples in these teachings
  • We encourage youth to be open and accepting of their own sexual orientation and gender identity as well as the orientation and identity of others and promote this in a positive manner while respecting their right to privacy and the decision to not disclose
  • We celebrate Pride with youth in our program and on our social media channels
  • We support youth who are living in environments that are homophobic to find them alternative and supportive living arrangements.
  • All staff work to safeguard the rights of youth from the LGBT2Q+ community 
  • All staff have access to a list of family physicians that have knowledge and skills to address medical and mental health concerns that are LGBT2Q+ positive and informed
  • We engage in annual reviews of intake forms and processes to ensure they are LGBT2Q+ positive
  • An external evaluator reviews our policies, website, and practices, and makes recommendations for fully inclusive practices 
  • We examine the data and the outcomes of youth from the LGBT2Q+ community to ensure their outcomes are positive and consistent with those of other youth 

Expanding Our Understanding

StepStones has compiled these educational, community, and youth resources to support and inform learning and understanding.