Two organizations are working to counter discrimination and meet the needs of young queer people, regardless of their location and in their coming-out journey. The Trevor Project and the Transgender Law Center each use their resources to help queer youth.
The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is the largest suicide-prevention and crisis-intervention organization for LGBTQ youth in the world. It has the only 24/7 helpline of its kind in the US, connecting queer youth with trained counselors.
For those who aren’t ready to talk to someone, Trevor Project also has guided meditation calming exercises to help you control your breathing and stay present. Its website also offers numerous resources for coming out that can be helpful for resolving questions within yourself and among friends and family.
Throughout the pandemic, the Trevor Project has also adapted in innovative ways, including by embracing artificial intelligence.
“We launched a counselor training technology called the Crisis Contact Simulator, which will allow us to triple our counselor base in 2021 and reach even more of the 1.8 million-plus LGBTQ youth in the US who we estimate seriously consider suicide each year,” says John Callery, VP of technology at the Trevor Project.
The Trevor Project says that the pandemic has been especially difficult on LGBTQ youth, and part of the reason can be attributed to school closures, leaving many kids “confined to unsupportive or even abusive home environments, resulting in the loss of positive social connections,” Callery says.
Instead, the youth are turning to social media for validation. “Watching LGBTQ People on YouTube and TikTok” were frequently cited as ways LGBTQ youth find joy and strength, according to the Trevor Project’s 2021 national survey.
Transgender Law Center
Other organizations, like the Transgender Law Center, offer outreach through virtual events that have brought diverse communities together, especially important in a year that’s seen the highest number of anti-transgender bills introduced in state legislatures in US history. Some of the center’s virtual events included The Black Trans Leaders Showing the Way to Liberation, A Virtual Vigil to Hold Grief as a Community, and Disabled, Not a Burden, Not Disposable, says Kris Hayashi, the Center’s executive director. Among the organization’s unique projects was launching a Soundcloud account with guided meditations to support the mental health of the trans community.
The Transgender Law Center’s site has resources for changing one’s name, gender marker, and birth certificate. Most important is the helpdesk, where representatives from the Transgender Law Center are open to answering questions about common legal challenges that trans people may encounter, such as how to correct identity documents. The website aims to be a comprehensive hub not only for information but also for connecting within the diverse tapestry of the trans community.
With one in six adults in Generation Z identifying as LGBT, the need for further support is only growing. Fortunately, there are more resources available than ever before. No matter where you are, there is a community ready to welcome and accept you.