Although LGBTQ youth face the same developmental challenges as other adolescents, they also experience stigmatization and discrimination as members of an oppressed group. This introductory workshop will provide an overview of the unique developmental challenges LGBTQ youth face, the factors that place these youth at risk of abuse, and their vulnerability to engage in risk-taking behaviors. This workshop will also delineate ways to promote safe, affirming and non-abusive agency environments for participants.
Mark Abelsson, MSW is a human relations consultant with over twenty-five years in social service planning, administration and training, over twenty years in human relations education, and twelve years in public education. The primary focus of his consulting practice is the design, implementation and evaluation of programs on a wide variety of human relations issues, particularly those related to sexual orientation and gender identity. Abelsson has worked with dozens of companies in the public, private and nonprofit sectors, personally delivering over 750 seminars on human relations issues to more than 15,000 employees. He is also currently an adjunct professor in the Social Work Departments at CSUN and CSULA.
Abelsson previously worked for the Gay & Lesbian Adolescent Social Services (GLASS) as their Training Director. GLASS provided long-term residential treatment, case management, family reunification and emancipation services to self-identified lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth. At GLASS, he trained staff in nine residential group homes on best practices for supporting and affirming youth in care. He also trained their prospective foster/adoptive parents.
Community volunteerism is extremely important to Abelsson. He is the Board Chair of the LA County LGBT Child Abuse Prevention Council, co-chair of the LAPD Professional Advisory Committee, and a member of the LAUSD Human Relations, Diversity & Equity Commission.