LGBTQ+ Inclusion and Support: An Analysis of Challenges and Opportunities Within 4-H

Joseph J. Rand, Megan S. Paceley, Jessica N. Fish, Sloan Okrey Anderson

Abstract


LGBTQ+ youth experience health disparities compared with heterosexual and cisgender youth. Community-based, positive youth development organizations are an important resource to support and affirm LGBTQ+ youth. This study aimed to identify the opportunities and challenges in supporting LGBTQ+ youth within 4-H. The study took place in one state in the United States within a 4-H program and employed qualitative, community-based methods using SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analyses and focus groups of 4-H staff, support staff, volunteers, and youth participants. The majority of participants were White and middle class with direct connections to the 4-H program. Thematic analyses were conducted by multiple analysts until consensus was reached. Challenges and opportunities emerged in 3 themes: (a) organizational climate; (b) policies and procedures; and (c) training, education, and resources. Two additional themes included opportunities only: (a) community engagement and (b) youth-specific resources. This study has important implications for the 4-H program, rural community practice, and research, including strategies to improve LGBTQ+ inclusivity through education, programs and policies, hiring, and community partnerships. Additionally, this study highlights the opportunity and unique positionality of the 4-H program to amplify youth voices in the creation of youth-specific resources.


Keywords


LGBTQ+; 4-H; inclusion; diversity; gay; lesbian; bisexual; trans; youth

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2021.1072

Copyright (c) 2021 Joseph J. Rand, Megan S. Paceley, Jessica N. Fish, Sloan Okrey Anderson

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