Celebrating diversity and fostering inclusion to improve the health of 2SLGBTQ+ youth

Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc explores the question of how we can create more inclusive and supportive environments for 2SLGBTQ+ youth.

A version of this article was originally published on the Canadian Institutes of Health Research website.

The environment in which we grow up can often have profound impacts on our development in adolescence and adulthood – including impacts our physical and mental health. So how can we create more inclusive and supportive environments for youth to help them live healthier, happier lives?

This is the question Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc, Executive Director of the Stigma and Resilience Among Vulnerable Youth Centre (SARAVYC) at the University of British Columbia, and her research team are exploring, particularly around 2SLGBTQ+(Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, plus) youth.

“We have seen over many years – not just in Canada but around the world – that sexual minority and gender diverse youth experience more rejection, bullying, discrimination, and enacted stigma than cisgender, heterosexual youth,” Dr. Saewyc explained. According to her research, this discrimination and stigma can lead to health-related issues: not only do 2SLGBTQ+ youth face higher rates of stress, depression, and suicidality, but they are also at higher risk of experiencing unwanted sexual encounters, facing early pregnancy, and using substances to cope.

To read the full story, please visit the UBC Applied Science announcement.

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