Although LGBTQ+ foster youth go through adversity and experience different barriers, there is one thing that is remarkable. They each share their own unique stories as they journey through their self-identity. Their resiliency shows that there are no limitations to the LGBTQ+ foster youth community when they stand grounded in who they are and what they believe in. The Individualized Transition Skills Program (ITSP) team acknowledges the challenges that the LGBTQ+ transition age youth face and we are constantly looking for ways to provide support, resources, trainings, and platforms for our youth to express themselves.
A 2019 study found that 30.4% of youth in foster care identify as LGBTQ+ and 5% as transgender, compared to 11.2% and 1.17% of youth not in foster care. As an ITSP supervisor and part of the LGBTQ+ community, I stand with PRIDE and want our youth to know that the path in life may not always seem clear – and there will be challenges — but you are not alone.
Continue to dream and aspire to be whomever you would like to be and never doubt that you all deserve everything in the world. If you ever doubt your resiliency, remember that you have already overcome the biggest barrier, and that is self-acceptance.
Below is a poem from an 18 year-old youth in ITSP named Ali:
I identify as pansexual and gender fluid
You can use they, them, her, she, him, he to describe me
I don’t mind
Some days I feel more masculine some more feminine
Others I think it’s a mixture of both
Don’t forget I’m still me my personality
doesn’t change just the way I dress
Now I also figured out that I can find
No matter how you identify
You could be a girl, a boy, gender fluid,
I can still fall in love with you and love you for who you are
This is not a phase as some have told me
I don’t need to conform to what others think
I should or look
I love myself the way I am