Caitlin Ryan’s story from the Let Love Define Family series
December 19, 2014
Caitlin Ryan, director of the San Francisco-based Family Acceptance Project, spoke with the Huffington Post about how families and foster families can support their lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) children – or, in some cases, reconnect with LGBT children they initially rejected. By some estimates, as many as forty percent of homeless youth are LGBT. The organization’s research found that “many families whose children were homeless and on the street wished that they had done something differently, that they hadn’t reacted out of anger.” The Family Acceptance Project also found that “LGBT young people who are highly rejected by their families were more than eight times more likely to have attempted suicide at least once, compared with peers with no or low family rejection.” In response, the group has developed a family model of care for LGBT youth that seeks to promote well-being and reduce risk. Their approach is based on more than 50 “supportive and accepting behaviors” identified in research as helpful in promoting children’s sense of wellness and connectedness.
Spark Extra! Check out Helping Families to Support their LGBT Children, a practitioner’s resource guide from SAMHSA.