QUOTES AND ANSWERS

What actions can psychologists take to improve the lives of sexual and gender minority youth and young adults?

Christy Olezeski 
Yale School of Medicine

Psychologists can continue to educate themselves on the best practices for LGBTQI+ populations. They can also join with the LGBTQI+ community to learn what the needs are for today's youth, engage in collaborative research projects and work jointly with the community to ensure policies are inclusive and supportive. We have a lot to do; we need to be humble, learn from our patients and the community and strive to do better.

Susan Regas
California School of
Professional Psychology

"In order to understand and work with sexual and gender minority youth and young adults, therapists have an ethical obligation  to engage in the process of self-reflection regarding their own sexual orientation and gender identity. They must know what their sexuality means to them, how it impacts their life and how it influences relationships with their clients. Therapists must identify stumbling blocks  and work to resolve them in some form or degree  which will allow them to better understand, relate and address the challenges that sexual and gender minority youth and young adults have."

Gary W. Harper

University of

Michigan

Three V’s:  Visibility, Voice, and Vocation.  We need to increase the visibility of sexual and gender minority (SGM) adults in all aspects of society, including those spaces and places often inhabited by psychologists (e.g., mental health care, teaching, research, community work, etc.).  This will help SGM youth and young adults to “see themselves” in different societal roles, and to recognize the critical role that SGM people play in day-to-day society.  We also need to support the voice of SGM youth and young adults, not only in the work we do as psychologists, but also in other areas of young people’s lives.  SGM youth and young adults may not have anyone to advocate for their voice and as adults we need to use our power and privilege in society to assure that SGM youth have voice and choice.  Finally, we need to help SGM youth and young adults to find their true vocation in life.  We need to help them see that their identity as an SGM person should not limit or constrain who they want to be, or the ways in which they want to leave their mark on the world.

Samantha Tornello

Pennsylvania State University

"Support youth and families, listen, disseminate research, speak up, and advocate for voices not heard."

 Stacey S. Horn

University of

Illinois

Listen to young people and stand with them in advocating for and ensuring that schools, families, and communities are inclusive, welcoming, and affirming of diverse sexual orientations, genders, gender identities and expressions.