Social Services and the LGBTQ Community

Solutions Journalism Network

On June 1st, 2021, President Joe Biden issued an official White House proclamation declaring June to be Pride Month in the U.S. He's only the third president to do so; President Clinton offered an official proclamation in 1999 and 2000 and President Obama issued a proclamation each year he was in office. Pride Month officially commemorates the Stonewall Riots that occurred in June 1969, widely regarding as one of the foundational events of the modern fight for LGBTQ rights. While Pride serves as a celebration of the victories that the community has gained in the intervening decades, it is also a sobering reminder of the many ways in which LGBTQ citizens remain underserved (at best) and discriminated against, harassed, and targeted for violence (at worst).

Same-sex marriage has only been legal in all 50 states in the U.S. for six years. Federal legislation provides no protections against housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. 33 states introduced legislation last year aimed at limiting the rights and privileges of transgender Americans, many of them specifically targeting minors. Depression affects LGBTQ people at higher rates compared to cisgender/heterosexual individuals, and lesbian, gay, and bisexual teens are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers. In response to a complex array of social challenges and the notoriously glacial pace of legislative change, nonprofit organizations and advocacy groups are working to fill the gaps for this vulnerable population by providing much needed social services like supportive housing, legal advice, and mental health assistance to millions of people. Read on to understand how Danish volunteers are helping LGBTQ asylum seekers navigate immigration processes; a North Carolina outreach program is helping trans women find safe, stable housing; a new initiative at Harvard designed to increase medical students' proficiency and comfort with LGBT healthcare; and more.