Often, programs and initiatives targeting awareness and education about LGBTIQ individuals have neglected to include LGBTIQ People of Color.  Moreover, these efforts have been framed through a White lens and perspective. New perspectives and information are emerging that provide us an opportunity, and an imperative, to begin to explore and understand how LGBTIQ individuals of color might experience their sexual orientations and gender identities differently, especially when considering their racial identities.   

Issues for LGBTIQ Students of Color   

Many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth experience harassment and assault, social exclusion and isolation, and other troubling events in high school and college 

  • "Many LGBT students of color were also commonly harassed in school because of their race or ethnicity – more than half of African American (51%), Latino/a (55%), Asian/Pacific Islander (55%), and multiracial students (59%) reported being verbally harassed in school for this reason. Native American LGBT students were somewhat less likely to report racially motivated harassment, with 43% experiencing verbal harassment related to their race/ethnicity in school" (Diaz & Kosciw, 2007)  
  • "Students of color who were severely harassed in school because of both their sexual orientation and race/ethnicity were more likely to miss school in the past month (57%) than those who were severely harassed based on sexual orientation only (43%), race/ethnicity only (39%), or those who did not experience high severities of either type of harassment (16%)" (Diaz & Kosciw, 2007)  
  • "Students of color who experienced high severities of harassment based on both their sexual orientation and race/ethnicity had significantly lower grade point averages (2.3) than students who reported experiencing a high severity of harassment because of only one of these characteristics (2.6), or did not experience high severities of either type of harassment (2.8)" (Diaz & Kosciw, 2007) 
  • LGBTIQ students of color are often not supported within their own communities.  While there is support for GLBTIQ students of color in the Latino, African American, Asian American, and Native American communities, there is also lots of homophobia directed against GLBTIQ individuals by people of color.  Conversely, there is lots of support for GLBTIQ students of color in the White GLBTIQ community, but there is also plenty of racism directed at those students.  This makes it difficult for GLBTIQ students of color to fit into either group. 
  • LGBTIQ students of color are an asset to a college campus because they bring diverse and challenging perspectives that allow other students to learn about themselves, the complexity of identity, and diversity and inclusiveness.  It is these differences that maximize the educational outcomes for all students related to diversity and inclusiveness.   

Source: Campus Pride Krystle Cobian & Nolan Yaws , University of Puget Sound Power of One Conference 2012

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