LGBTQ Strategic Planning Forum

The LGBTQ Forum was one of four strategic planning forums hosted by the Maine Behavioral Health Workforce Development Collaborative throughout the year to address service gaps and needs within various segments of the population throughout Maine.

The panel represented the following organizations:

  • Student Life and Diversity at the University of Southern Maine
  • Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network
  • OUT As I Want to Be
  • EqualityMaine

Issues of language and definitions were presented and highlights of the panel presentation included:

A project at USM called Safe Zone, which is training around identity issues, professional development and cultural competence. It seems that a "bubble" can be created in higher education to support the development of gender identity, but then students go out into the "real world" and are met with challenges and possibly unsupportive work and learning environments.

GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) is working in policy and laws for safe schools - "Safe Schools for All." They form and strengthen gay, straight and trans alliances in the schools. The goal is toward responsive services and programming, and to develop and promulgate effective models.

There was discussion about community issues, legislative and policy work, transgender and elder issues.

Some of the outcomes of the round tables were:

  1. Train all staff - admin, clerical, clinical, administrative, etc., - on how to create a welcoming and safe environment for workers, students or clients, depending on the setting. Training should be both general and specific to unique issues.
  2. Use a self-assessment tool to reflect on the environment.
  3. Trainers/teachers/counselors/providers must attend to culturally sensitive messaging and accommodations.
  4. Address cultural competency in strategic planning and ensure proper policies are in place.
  5. Provide trainings that focus on both the broad (external) spectrum, as well as the personal (internal) perspectives and experiences.
  6. Include LGBTQ people in program planning and implementation.

To learn more about the other three strategic planning forums, please click below: