LGBTQ+ Safe Space Initiative
The LGBTQ+ Youth Safe Space Initiative aims to create a vibrant relationship between Stockton University and the local community in an effort to support the health and wellbeing of LGBTQ+ youth.
Research and Programming Initiatives
Reliable data describing the LGBTQ+ community is lacking at the local, state and national levels. As part of this initiative, Stockton faculty and students engage in research, collecting data to identify the problems uniquely facing LGBTQ+ youth and support the development of “best practice” solutions to these challenges.
In addition to data driven research, the LGBTQ+ Safe Space Initiative supports the creation and nurturing of ongoing place-based community engagement and collaboration. Toward this effort, the LGBTQ+ Youth Safe Space Initiative sponsors educational and social events for LGBTQ+ youth, their families, and the local community, and acts as a resource for other organizations who work to support LGBTQ+ youth in Atlantic County.
Although many local organizations work to provide services to youth (under 24 years of age), facilities offering housing, medical and psychological counseling and social services do not effectively consider the needs unique of LGBTQ+ youth; as a result, many are living out on the streets, “couch surfing,” or are exploited in a variety of ways (economically, sexually and otherwise). In Atlantic City and its suburbs, there is not a single bed for homeless LGBTQ+ youth under the age of 18, and foster care has not been able to effectively place LGBTQ+ youth in foster homes. This lack of support exacerbates a number of social ills, isolation, and suffering for LGBTQ+ youth who have significantly higher rates of psychological, social and bodily distress, contributing to suicide rates four times higher than non-LGBTQ+ teens, and higher at-risk rates for drug abuse and acquiring HIV and associated illnesses.
The LGBTQ+ Youth Safe Space Initiative strives to provide the foundational research and community connection to support data collection and work toward the future development of a physical “safe space” which will house an outreach center for LGBTQ+ youth, provide emergency services, coordinate outreach services, host social events, and act as a nexus for innovative services and community partnerships to improve the health and well-being of LGBTQ+ youth in Southern New Jersey, most immediately in Atlantic City and the Atlantic-Cape May-Cumberland Counties region. Above all, as the name suggests, the space will provide a welcoming, inclusive and safe environment for LGBTQ+ youth and their families. The space will also be unique, in that it will serve as a center for research, data collection and mentorship opportunities, interfacing with campus-wide academic initiatives and community organizations throughout the region.
The LGBTQ+ Youth Safe Space Initiative strives to educate the public about issues of gender, sex, and sexuality, and advocates for a number of policies and comprehensive programs that positively impact LGBTQ+ youth. LGBTQ+ Youth Safe Space Initiative will develop and present educational programming at no cost and at the request of community members. Educational initiatives currently focus on the health and wellbeing of LGBTQ+ youth, and the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, genderqueer and transgender students to safety, education and healthcare.
The LGBTQ Safe Space Initiative Interface:
Opportunities for Students:
- Community Engagement
Students have an opportunity to participate in community engagement projects that support LGBTQ+ youth while gaining knowledge and skills to address unique struggles facing this vulnerable population.
- LGBTQ+ Youth Health Status Research
Faculty in public health and sociology and anthropology are conducting ongoing research about the health and well-being of LGBTQ youth in Atlantic City and Southern New Jersey. Students have the opportunity to participate in this research through coursework, service-learning, independent study, internships, clinical placements, and as paid research assistants.
- Support Services
Working with the Women, Gender and Sexuality Center (WGSC), the student run Pride Alliance, and the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) program, the LGBTQ+ safe space promotes a healthy environment for LGBTQ+ students on campus.
Opportunities for Faculty:
- Community Engagement
Opportunities for Community Partnerships:
- Support/partnerships for programming
- Internship support
- Support for research and data collection
- Policy research and advocacy
- Collaboration on projects and special events
Laurie Greene, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Anthropology
609-761-1251 | AC224g