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Free health forum to look at risks faced by LGBT youths in Merced, Calif.

MERCED, Calif. -- A free health forum for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youths is scheduled to take place from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Italo-American Lodge, 1351 W. 18th St., Merced.

The forum, which is open to people of all ages, will discuss the important role of families and the community in preventing suicide and other risks among gay youths. The event also is geared toward fostering and supporting the emotional, mental and physical health of gay youths, according to organizers.

The scheduled keynote speaker for the event is Caitlin Ryan, a clinical social worker who's addressed issues related to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender adolescents, according to her biography.

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