Learning Objectives–At the end of this module, you will be able to:
- revise your intake process to be inclusive for LGBTQ2S youth
We spend a considerable amount of time intaking youth into our programs and services. Many of our programs and services receive funding for us to work with specific demographics. Our intake process needs to ensure that applicants fit the program demographics. This means asking program applicants incredibly personal questions without having established a relationship.
Here is some of the feedback youth gave us during the focus groups:
- More individualized intakes forms/processes to meet needs of all youth accessing shelter
- Gender Identity category on registration package/preferred name box
- Intake process is too long
- A lot of retelling your story
- You shouldn’t have to go through the whole intake process again if you have already stayed there in the past
- Allow youth to fill out registration package independently/allow for not answering questions
- Self Identity NOT legal identity–use of chosen name (having space on forms for this and in interpersonal conversation)
- Confidentiality and discretion around youth privacy (e.g. having private spaces to talk), specifically around their gender and sexual identities to promote safety (stigma from other residents and by being “outed” by staff, even unintentionally, their safety is at risk).
- Visible Pride stickers/flags and Trans flags to promote inclusive accommodations
- Public washrooms/not gender specific
You are probably doing many if not all of these.
- Revise your application forms, intake forms and related paperwork to be LGBTQ2S inclusive. Consider having space to ask youth to self identify their sexual orientation and gender identity. As discussed in the Identifying Your Local Context module by not collecting this data we are rendering LGBTQ2S youth invisible in our organizations.
- In addition, we need to include a question that asks youth for their chosen name and preferred pronoun. This is because for many trans* youth their gender identity does not match the name and sex assigned at birth that is on their legal identification.
- Intake scripts used by staff need to include asking youth for their chosen name and preferred pronoun. This is a question that all staff need to use during the intake process. And it needs to be asked of all youth. There are a number of youth whose gender presentation does not match their gender identity, because they cannot afford to have their gender expression match their identity. Also many trans* men and women do not feel safe in the shelter system and they may feel forced to dress to match their legal identification to avoid harassment and violence.
- Share with all youth your process for making your site a safe enough space. To enforce this message have visible LGBTQ2S signage throughout your site.
Do you have any recommendations to add? Please add them as a comment on this page and we will add them to the list.