- Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth
Media Contact for Community Voices Are Vital to LGBTQ Commission's Work
Corey Prachniak-Rincón, Director
BOSTON, MA — The Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth has released its yearly request for experiences, thoughts, and suggestions from LGBTQ youth and their guardians, providers, and allies. The form will remain open Monday, March 25th, and the recommendations will be formally released at April 4th at 10am at the State House Library. Hearing the community weigh in on their priorities and top issues occurs alongside the Commission’s preparation of its annual recommendations on how to improve services for LGBTQ youth and reduce the inequities faced across the Commonwealth.
Community perspectives play a vital role in the Commission’s recommendations to government entities, including:
- The Legislature and Governor;
- The agencies that oversee early childhood, elementary, secondary, and higher education;
- The agencies that oversee the foster care, juvenile justice, and adult criminal justice systems;
- The agencies that provide support to special populations such as immigrants, people experiencing homelessness, and people with disabilities;
- And more.
Past respondents have included youth who have first-hand experience with schools and other government services, such as those who have participated in GSAs or experienced bullying; parents of youth who are impacted by LGBTQ-related policies; teachers and other educational professionals; those who provide services to youth; and those who work within or interact with the government agencies to whom the Commission issues recommendations. Anyone with experiences or opinions on issues affecting LGBTQ youth in Massachusetts is welcome to submit feedback for review by the Commission’s staff.
Last year’s recommendations contained guidance on updating sexual health education to be LGBTQ-inclusive, and included quotes that served to inform this recommendation. “The education for LGBTQ issues is lacking at best,” one student from the Boston area said. “The information we receive in health classes is either overgeneralized or inaccurate.”
Parents also weighed in with invaluable feedback on LGBTQ youth issues, with one saying, “I would like to see more education for medical personnel so they don’t make assumptions on the teen’s identity and orientation in basic physical exams and counseling.” Another commented on educational issues, stating, “In terms of school curriculums, there should be more LGBTQ role models in order to empower LGBTQ youths to make a greater change or to spread awareness about the LGBTQ community and our struggles we face.”
Provider and educator perspectives are often included to show what services may need improvements. “A challenge for us is accessing more curricula. A lot of the things we come across are very heteronormative,” said a provider from Southeastern Massachusetts, whose perspective helped inform the recommendations. “We’re human services and we’re well-intentioned, but I don’t want to leave that population out.” Another provider from the Greater Boston area expressed the difficulty in connecting youth with local resources, especially in rural Massachusetts, as “there is a lack of LGBTQ-inclusive social programming and mental health services, thus youth may wait until they come to a larger urban area like Boston to access services.”
The Commission’s web submission form will remain open until Monday, March 25th, but early submission is highly encouraged. RSVPs for the recommendations release event on April 4th are now being accepted here.