Promoting positive sexual health and protective factors for East Asian LGBTQ youth in BC



  • Andrea Polonijo

The Stigma and Resilience Among Vulnerable Youth Centre (SARAVYC) has identified lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer (LGBTQ) health disparities for a range of physical and mental health outcomes. This work has also documented lower levels of family- and school-connectedness –– two key social supports that are protective factors for youth. East Asian LGBTQ youth are nearly 30 times more likely to face harassment and discrimination than their heterosexual peers, and are at higher risk of problematic drug and alcohol use. It may be especially difficult for these youth to find support within their families and communities, as LGBTQ topics can be stigmatizing for East Asian families.

Therefore, SARAVYC and Options for Sexual Health (Opt) will create and present culturally relevant materials to East Asian parents, youth and families, on youth sexual health and create supportive environments for LGBTQ youth. This team will work with SARAVYC’s East Asian advisory group to develop and present two evening events in English with simultaneous interpretation in Cantonese and Mandarin, an online slide deck, and education materials, translated into Cantonese-traditional Chinese, Mandarin-Simplified Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, which can be circulated in Opt offices and online. These knowledge translation activities will help East Asian parents support their adolescents' successful development of healthy relationships and sexual health overall, with information about LGBTQ youth integrated into the content.

There are three key objectives:

  1. Provide information in culturally appropriate and sensitive formats accessible to non-English speakers/readers.
  2. Create opportunities for parents to engage with experts in their own language.
  3. Develop awareness about LGBTQ health disparities among East Asian youth and increase knowledge of how parents can support their LGBTQ children.

To achieve these objectives, advisory meetings will be held in September and December to develop the content and format of the events and materials, and finalize the materials for translation. Event details will be confirmed in February and then advertising begins. Events are tentatively planned for April and May.

The event and materials will create a common vocabulary for parents to better speak with their youth about their sexual health and help support LGBTQ inclusivity. Materials will bridge language and cultural barriers often experienced by East Asians seeking advice and health care, and promote greater inclusivity and support in Opt clinics.