Grief and Bereavement for LGBTQ Youth


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March 28, 2019 | 2:00 p.m. Eastern | 11:00 a.m. Pacific (1.5 hours)
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Presentation Description

Individuals experience the processes of grief and bereavement in unique ways as they come to terms with the loss of life of persons who have been important to them. Members of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities, however, may face particular circumstances that affect these processes in complicated ways. Grief and bereavement for LGBT communities might include transitioning in terms of LGBT identity (“coming out”; coming to terms with the intersectionality of LGBT identity and religion/spirituality, racial identity, and/or ethnic identity; coping with community level grief and bereavement; and “suffocated” or “disenfranchised grief.”


  1. Recognize and articulate the types of non-death losses faced by the LGBTQ communities and youth.
  2. To identify and understand the pscyhosocial phenomenon of disenfranchised grief among LGBTQ communities.
  3. Articulate best practices for counseling bereaved LGBTQ youth and adolescents, and tools for strengthening coping skills among LGBTQ youth to support them through the experience of loss.

About the Presenters

Johanna Bos is a LCSW and CASAC who has been working in the field of Mental Health and Substance Abuse services primarily for adolescents and young adults for over twenty years. She is trained in Motivational Interviewing, CBT, Seeking Safety and is a certified Narcan (Naloxone) administrator and trainer.

Bridget Hughes, M.A. is the Senior Director of Youth Services at the Hetrick-Martin Institute, overseeing the implementation of HMI’s programs for LGBTQ young people and their families, as well as outreach and education programs, and the replication of HMI’s youth service model to other sites in NYC and New Jersey. Before joining HMI, Hughes spent eighteen years working at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in Manhattan, during the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis, where she developed and directed the Youth Enrichment Services (Y.E.S.) Program, an innovative and dynamic activities-based, leadership and HIV prevention program for LGBT youth, and spearheaded the creation of the first and only free summer-camp program for LGBT youth in the country. Under Bridget’s direction, the Y.E.S. program received The Mental Hygiene Award from the City of New York in 2000 in recognition of service excellence and exceptional program performance, and was cited as a model substance abuse prevention program by the Division of Consumer Health Education of the University of Medicine & Dentistry; Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. In 1996, Hughes served on the National Institute of Mental Health, Office on AIDS’ Consortium on Technology Transfer, as part of a collaborative researcher-service provider team investigating the diffusion and replication of science-based practice in the field of HIV and substance abuse prevention. She is a co-author of the “Working It Out” intervention curriculum, a cognitive-behavioral HIV prevention intervention targeting lesbian, gay and bisexual youth, developed under the auspices of the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at Columbia University.

As part of her work with LGBT youth at Y.E.S., Hughes developed a multi-pronged programming initiative to address peer-based harassment and violence in public schools; the “Safe Schools Initiative” included the creation of a city-wide network of the leaders of student-run Gay-Straight Alliances, a paid student internship program, professional development training for school staff, and community organizing skills training for high school students. The Safe Schools Initiative resulted in the creation of more than 70 new student clubs across the city, and the spawning of a strong citywide network of LGBT students and their allies. In 2004, the Y.E.S. Program’s “Safe Schools Initiative” was selected for inclusion in the Downstate Prevention Resource Center’s Emerging Practices Guide, published by The Children’s Aid Society. Hughes served on the New York City Board of Education Chancellor’s Advisory Council on Intergroup Relations (1998-2004) and worked with the Office of Multicultural Education to develop the “E. Pluribus Unum” curriculum (for grades 6-12). In 2007 Hughes collaborated with other community based organizations contracted by the Department of Education to create curriculum and training materials for NYC School’s “Respect for All” campaign. She also spearheaded the development and publication of a standards based Teacher’s Guide, adopted and disseminated by the New York City Dept. of Education’s Office of School and Youth Development, for the film I Look Up to the Sky Now, a documentary by and about LGBT youth in New York City.

Before leaving the LGBT Community Center, Hughes received a PASEsetter Award for outstanding contributions to the field of after school education. In 2007, she was awarded a Charles H. Revson Fellowship for the Future of the City of New York, a year of self-directed study for civic leaders at Columbia University. From 2009-2012 she was the sole consultant responsible for the implementation of the annual Bias Audit for the NYC Department of Education, tracking evidence of hate-related bias in incidents of student-on-student harassment and violence, a project that was eventually mandated to all school districts by the passage of the New York State Dignity for All Students Act.

Hughes has provided professional development training on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth and family issues, and HIV prevention, for a wide array of audiences in the field of social services and education including the New York City Administration for Children’s Services, the New York City Department of Education, the National Development and Research Institutes, Inc., the New York State Division of AIDS Services, the Covenant House Training Institute, New York University Silver School of Social Work, and various colleges throughout the City University of New York. In 2009 Hughes was the keynote speaker and training moderator for the 2nd Annual CUNY GLBTQ Colloquium, Building Supportive Communities on Campus, sponsored by the City College of Technology.



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