Being an ally for LGBTQ+ Youth is something we need to talk about every month, not just in June. Although I’ve been a school psychologist for two decades, I’m not an expert in serving the LGBTQ+ Youth community. So, I figured we should hear from someone who has done extensive work with our youth. I interviewed Cynthia “Cindy” L. Ficken, MFT, LPCC in Episode 57 of the Don’t Mix In Podcast. We got into how to be an Ally to our LGBTQ+ Youth.
You can listen to Episode 57 the Don’t Mix In Podcast here:
Cindy specializes in children, teens and their families through her work with schools and in private practice. She also has experience working at a psychiatric hospital. I worked with her years ago at school district in the Orange County area. Cindy provided me with so much insight on how to work not just with youth but also with families. I still call her from time to time regarding cases. Here are some of the takeaways from our conversation:
“It is a time that you want to individuate and assimilate.“Cynthia L. Ficken on the challenges LGBTQ+ Youth face during adolescence
Tips for being an Ally for LGBTQ+ Youth
Seek to understand. First, we get into how adolescence is already a challenging time. It is a time that you want to individuate and assimilate. This was a theme throughout our conversation. Understanding is how we can start dialogue. Hold space for youth (any youth while we are at it) to create that safe space.
Don’t assume you know their struggle or situation. Next, we talked about that each youth is different, as we all are. So, assuming won’t be helpful. Instead, work to understand (as mentioned above).
Additional resources might be needed. Finally, there are youth that are working through issues related to mental health that are significant. In other words, that are bigger than what we can handle. Access community agencies for support.
How else you can help
LAYN now Youth Emerging Stronger. I mentioned in this podcast that, about 20 years ago, I worked at a shelter in Los Angeles, Los Youth Network now called Youth Emerging Stronger. This shelter serves foster and homeless youth. This was one of my first experiences serving LGBTQ+ Youth. This organization continues to do important work! You can find out more about them here and donate.
The Trevor Project. Also, The Trevor Project offers wide range of services and supports for our LGBTQ+ Youth. From their site:
“The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.”
You can find out more about them here.
You can reach Cynthia L. Ficken, MFT, LPCC Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at Fickencindy@gmail.com
Want to find out more about the Don’t Mix In Podcast? Go here