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Social Movements and Governing Power

Creating Inclusive Spaces for Queer and Trans Youth of Color: Lessons Learned from Grassroots Youth Organizations

February 2021

By Veronica Terriquez (UCSC), Koda Sokol (UCSC), and Angel Ross (UC Berkeley)

Please note: reports dated earlier than June 2020 were published under our previous names: the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) or the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII).

Queer and Trans Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (QTBIPOC) are well-represented in California’s youth organizing groups, serving at the forefront of campaigns for educational equity, environmental justice, health equity, immigrant rights, racial justice, and other issues affecting low-income and marginalized communities. Equally important, they are challenging gender binaries and addressing homophobia and transphobia within their organizations, families, and communities. QTBIPOC bring valuable perspectives to youth organizations, given their experiences of racial, gender, and sexuality injustice and the strategies they develop to survive and counter these multiple, interrelated oppressions. This report details how grassroots youth organizing groups can create inclusive spaces for young QTBIPOC to lead and be heard, even when their campaign work may not necessarily focus on addressing gender and sexuality issues.

Why We Should Pay Attention to Young QTBIPOC Leaders? Among U.S. residents aged 24 and under, people of color comprise nearly one in two, and in California, nearly three out of four. Younger people are also significantly more likely than their elders to identify as part of the queer and trans community (Gates, 2017; GLAAD, 2017; Herman et al., 2017; Williams Institute, 2019). Notably, over one in four California youth ages 12 to 17 identify as gender non-conforming (Wilson et al., 2017). Young QTBIPOC are a growing and increasingly visible population with much at stake in struggles for social justice. From gay liberation to civil rights to Black Lives Matter and beyond, QTBIPOC have long been leading the most transformative movements for justice in the U.S., even if their voices are not always amplified or their contributions adequately recognized.

Read our other publications by research area

    Immigrant Integration & Racial Justice

    Our work on immigrant integration and racial justice brings together three emphases: scholarship that draws on academic theory and rigorous research, data that provides information structured to highlight the process of immigrant integration over time, and engagement that seeks to create new dialogues with government, community organizers, business and civic leaders, immigrants and the voting public to advance immigrant integration and racial equity.

    Economic Inclusion & Climate Equity

    In the area of economic inclusion, we at ERI advance academic theory and practical applications linking economic growth, environmental quality, and civic health with bridging of racial and other gaps; produce accessible and actionable data and analysis through the data tools; and establish research partnerships to deepen and advance the dialogue, planning, and actions around racial equity, environmental justice, and the built environment.

    Social Movements & Governing Power

    ERI’s work in the area of governing power includes: conducting cross-disciplinary studies of today’s social movements, supporting learning and strategizing efforts to advance dialogues among organizers, funders, intermediaries, evaluators, and academics, and developing research-based social change frameworks and tools to inform—and be informed by—real-world, real-time efforts towards a vision of deep change.

    Publications Directory

    In 2020, the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) and the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) merged to form the USC Equity Research Institute (ERI).

    The full list of publications published under our previous and current names can be found in our publications directory.

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