LGBTQ+ SupportME Website Kick Off!
The LGBTQ+ SupportME Network, in partnership with Bangor Public Health, invites educators from across the state to join us for a webinar exploring a new website (www.lgbtqsupportme.org) dedicated to increasing the health and wellness of LGBTQ+ youth while providing resources we believe are useful for all educators.
The website, launched in June, aims to increase awareness of Maine's LGBTQ+ youth communities, provide educational resources, promote allied organizations and create pathways to connect LGBTQ+ youth to broader networks. One of the primary goals is to help youth, adults and allies to feel empowered and supported.
This virtual webinar will take place on Tuesday, November 24th from 3:30-4:30. Participants can use the following Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83609101614pwd=MTRQRFNwWGdPbzl5M3BMUFQ2NkpDUT09
Highlights from the site geared towards our education partners include:
Safe Space Resource Kit and Training Facilitator Guide
Gender Spectrum Glossary
OUT Maine Youth Policy Board Research Summary, 2020 (recommendations related to inclusive sex education)
Trans Youth Equality Resources for Teachers
We will explore each of these resources and answer questions about how to use them in your own classroom. We will also be sharing data collected during the most recent (2019) Maine Integrated youth Health Survey. In the 2019 survey, LGBTQ+ high school students self-reported higher substance use rates than their peers and experience forced sexual contact and other traumatic events nearly three times as often as non-LGBTQ+ youth. 
The site also provides resources to help LGBTQ+ youth connect to virtual support groups, find a health care provider and learn about their rights as an individual and a student. Toolkits for parents, educators, and healthcare/prevention providers are provided as well as recommended literature. Original materials produced by the group are also available for visitors to use in their own projects.
Over the last three years and with support from Maine Prevention Services and local substance use youth prevention coalitions the LGBTQ+ SupportME Network has evolved into a collaborative group of diverse public health professionals and compassionate organizations. Members meet virtually each month and welcome new members to increase inclusivity.