Co-written with akt this guidance provides information on how services can adapt their offer in order to create safe and welcoming services for young trans people.
Trans young people may find themselves experiencing homelessness for a multitude of reasons, however their homelessness often intersects with their gender identity. The most visible form of this is where young people are rejected and/or harmed by their families and communities due to their gender identity.
Recent research from akt provides a sombre insight into the experiences of these young people in their family home prior to their homelessness- 71 % of young trans people were frightened of threaten by their family, 64% were stopped from expressing their identity, and 17% were forced to do sexual acts by family members against their will before becoming homeless.
Consequently, young trans people often have experienced extended periods of abuse within and outside the family home prior to becoming homeless.
As a sector we know how these traumatic experiences can have a significant impact on people and that psychologically, and trauma-informed services that put relationships at the centre of support enable people to move forward in their lives. So how do we apply this knowledge, to create more inclusive services for young trans people?
Creating safe and welcoming environments is an important first step. Physical environments impact on our ability to engage with others and build relationships. We need to be active in showing our services are safe spaces for young trans people.
Building relationships needs to be based on an understanding and interest in the young person we are supporting. Staff should take the time to listen and get to know a young person, affirm their identity, and understand how they would like to be supported to express their identity within services and the wider community.
The new guidance will support you and your organisation to reflect and adjust services so they are trans-inclusive, for both young people and staff. Actions that support staff and managers can take are included, as well as links to additional resources and case studies of organisations working to provide the best service they can for young trans people.
We are living in in an era where the rights of trans people are frequently and publicly attacked or ‘debated’. It is important that as a sector we stand against transphobia, and work to create an inclusive and safe world for a community who are, sadly, over-represented in homelessness services.
Akt were winners of the Homeless Link 2020 Jacqui McCluskey communicating for change award, to learn more about their work, and work of the other winners, please visit our 2020 awards page.
Questions or comments? Get in contact.
See our Youth Homelessness Resources page for guidance, toolkits and more.