Changemaker Nomination: Caitlin Ryan, Family Acceptance Project

It’s the next 2013 Changemaker Nomination suggested by a chocolate lover like you! 

Congratulations to Caitlin Ryan, Family Acceptance

Here’s what Jung has to say about this fearless individual:

“The Family Acceptance Project (FAP) saves the lives of LGBT youth by educating their families/primary caretakers on the destructive impact of rejecting their child’s sexuality on the child’s health and relationship with the family. Often, these families love their LGBT children but don’t understand that denying or oppressing their children’s identities does not help them but profoundly harms them. FAP conducted comprehensive research in the field with diverse families (rural, ethnic) in California and was able to identify and connect specific accepting/rejecting behaviors by families on health outcomes among LGBT youth including depression, sexually risky behavior, drug abuse, and suicide.  I had the  pleasure of working with Caitlin Ryan on this project last year as a pro bono marketing consultant and believe she and FAP deserve a donation because of the incredibly groundbreaking, research-based work she has done to help the families of LGBT youth stay together and ensure healthier outcomes for these youth. FAP has made a concerted effort to create resource materials for diverse populations–not just the mainstream, middle/upper class, white families in urban centers–in English, Spanish, and Chinese, and for Mormon communities to support LGBT youth and their families. Caitlin lives and breathes this work. She works 14 hours a day and is severely underfunded and understaffed. Her work is not sexy like “It gets better”–her work promotes the health and acceptance of LGBT youth within their primary source of identity and community, their families; Caitlin and FAP aim to change the social and cultural behaviors that harm youth, one family at a time. Donating to FAP will provide Caitlin with the opportunity to hire more project-based help or even reduce the burden of having to fundraise while at the same time trying to reach more families and professionals (health, educational, etc) who work with LGBT youth and produce the resources to help those youth.”

A little more info:

19_FamilyAcceptanceProject“Although there is an increasing amount of information about the risks and challenges facing LGB youth (with very little information about transgender youth), we know little about their strengths and resiliency, including the strengths of families in supporting their children’s health and well-being. Even though the family is the primary support for children and youth, and family involvement helps reduce adolescent risk, there have been no previous studies of how families affect their LGBT children’s risk and resiliency. Prior to this study, little information was available to show how families respond to an adolescent’s coming out and how family and caregiver reactions affect adolescent health, mental health and development for LGBT young people.

Attention to family reactions is critical since increasingly, youth are coming out at younger ages which significantly increases risk for victimization and abuse in family, school and community settings, and provides opportunities for helping to support and strengthen families. Victimization has long-term consequences for health and development, and impacts families as well as the targeted individuals. Early intervention can help families and caregivers build on strengths and use evidence-based materials to understand the impact of acceptance and rejection on their child’s well-being.

The Family Acceptance Project™ (FAP) is directed by Caitlin Ryan at the Marian Wright Edelman Institute at San Francisco State University, and was developed by Caitlin Ryan and Rafael Dìaz in 2002. It includes the first major study of the families of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.”

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