Study investigates rural LBGTQ youth's motivations for participating in activism | 8/7/2019 | Staff
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While marriage equality continues to be a big win for the LGBTQ movement since its passage in the U.S. in 2015, many activists are concerned about what's next.

Researchers from West Virginia University and the University of Kansas have spent the intervening years studying young adults comprising the next generation of LGBTQ activists to understand their aspirations for the movement's future.

Organization - Southwest - WVU - Assistant - Professor

Working with a lobbying organization in the rural southwest, WVU Assistant Professor of Social Work Megan Gandy-Guedes and KU Assistant Professor of Social Welfare Megan Paceley sought to understand the social, economic and environmental issues important to LGBTQ young adults living in the rural U.S. and their motivations for engaging in activism and social justice efforts.

"Seeing the challenges of LGBTQ youth in states that are in the middle of the country or in more rural or more conservative areas—needing a voice in the younger generation really motivated us to do this research," Gandy-Guedes said.

Adults - Lobbying - Organization - Leadership - Symposium

They surveyed young adults ages 18 to 29 who attended the lobbying organization's annual leadership symposium to inform its future programming.

"The organization's leaders felt like they needed a better approach to reaching the younger generation of leaders, activists and advocates," Gandy-Guedes said. "They asked us to do a survey to find out the motivations of these young people and the things they are interested in being involved in."

Issues - Adults - Police - Use - Force

Five issues resonated the most for the young adults surveyed: police use of force, conversion therapy (meant to change an individual's sexual orientation), pay inequality, lived equality for transgender individuals and preservation of land, water and wildlife.

"There are so many issues on the forefront of these young peoples' minds," Gandy-Guedes said. "It really emphasizes that if organizers are going to engage these young people, they need to engage them...
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