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JUNE, 2020

Initiatives
Community Care
Society

Newsflash: HCCA is about to launch a brand new LGBTQ+-focused effort in partnership with OutMaine! Read on to learn more…

It’s June, and HCCA is joining LGBTQ+ people and allies in celebrating Pride 2020! Given the current circumstances, Pride Month looks a bit different this year, but we’d like to take a moment to call attention to our LGBTQ+ youth work and share why it’s so important.

Every two years, students in Maine middle and high schools take a survey called the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey (MIYHS) that collects data about all kinds of Public health issues. We use that data to decide where to focus our energy based on the community’s needs.

Maine’s LGBT youth shared some pretty concerning facts in the most recent survey, in 2019: Please keep in mind, the kids are alright – it is history, systems, and perceptions that largely influence the differences. (Note: the MIYHS only collected data on LGBT students, so the data is not complete)

“53% of gay & lesbian students, 34% of bisexual students and 63% of transgender students report receiving offensive comments or were attacked due to perceived sexual orientation, or gender identity at school or on the way to school”

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  • Gay & Lesbian and bisexual high school students are more likely to be bullied, have depressive symptoms, and seriously consider suicide compared to their heterosexual peers
  • 72% of transgender students report depression in the past 12 months, and 52% report considering suicide
  • LGBT students often reported higher use of substances, including cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana in the past 30 days You can visit www.maine.gov/MIYHS for more data from this survey and past years’ – overall, the message is, LGBT youth data provide quantitative reasons to focus our public health work with this community
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To this end, HCCA Team members; Joanne Joy, April Hughes, Patricia Buck-Welton and Elizabeth Deprey are active members (in fact, the leader, in April’s case!) of LGBTQ+ SupportMe Network, which is working to create resources for parents and other concerned adults to support LGBTQ+ youth in creating safe spaces, preventing substance use and hopefully turning some of these statistics around. The coalition will launch its new website very soon www.lgbtqsupportME.org– stay tuned to HCCA’s social media to learn more!

HCCA is also partnering with OUT Maine to implement a new five-year grant from US and Maine Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to help reduce tobacco use impacts among LGBTQ+ youth. Right now, they are seeking LGBTQ+ Advisory Council members to reduce tobacco use including vaping in the LGBTQ+ community. If you are interested, contact Joanne Joy at [email protected]

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