An under-examined aspect of safety for youth is being safe to be themselves in emotional and mental ways, and that includes having people in their lives who use the language that resonates with who they are – be that gender designations, names, or labels.
Despite what parents, teachers, and kids in the schoolyard have said for generations, sticks and stones may break my bones, but hateful words can leave deeper wounds that are slower to heal. And yet, many people resist something that costs them nothing: using respectful language.
In Victoria, the Greater Victoria School District has created a library of helpful resources for those who want to understand the terminology of sexual orientations, gender identity, and gender expression.
Youth with a history of trauma are at higher risk for negative outcomes later in life and delays in developing basic life skills. Youth who also have disabilities, both visible and invisible, face additional challenges with their emerging adult development. These lived experiences can lead to a reduced “window of tolerance” for stress which impacts different aspect of their lives including healthy relationships, employment, housing stability, and substance use.
“Every young person should have people in their life that they can count on unconditionally and interdependently. Youth in care need to feel that they belong, have worth and are valuable members of their communities” EQUITABLE STANDARDS FOR TRANSITIONS TO ADULTHOOD FOR YOUTH IN CARE – Pillar 4
For the last several years, Threshold has focused in the spring on sharing the facts around youth aging out of government care on their 19th birthday. The late Katherine McParland, a leading youth housing advocate, once deemed aging out of care the “superhighway into homelessness” – a term that has proliferated. In the past three years, however, the government of BC has announced multiple funding and policy changes aimed at either creating off-ramps from that highway or relieving the housing crisis.
Sign up for updates from Threshold Housing Society