LGBT+ Youth Suicide Awareness

Approximately 10 million Americans identify as LGBT+ today. Many think people these days look for "out of the box labels" but the reality is that we live in a much more open and accepting society. In today's age, many more people are comfortable with coming out as LGBT+. However, there is still a lot more that we can do. With our current political climate, we are dealing with many in the LGBT+ community who are feeling singled out and less accepted. "Between five and ten percent of LGBT+ youth, depending on age and gender have attempted suicide, a rate 1.5-3 times higher than heterosexual youth." Meaning five-hundred-thousand to one million LGBT Americans have, at one point, attempted suicide in their youth, with those we are transgender being at the highest risk. Considering that these rates are lower than they used to be, this number is even higher when including old statistics as well as how many LGBT+ adults have attempted suicide.  

With resources like COMMON SPACE there is hope for the future, and with our collective efforts, we strive to lower these rates. With a mission statement that says, " MY LGBT PLUS is dedicated to connecting, interacting with, and supporting our LGBT+ community," our organization is part of something bigger. We are here to SUPPORT our LGBT+ community. If you are looking for an event to attend you can go to mylgbtplus.org for a list of upcoming events. If you are looking for a one on one to directly talk to one of our team members you can click the contact us section of the MY LGBT PLUS site to communicate with an ambassador via email, phone, or in person at COMMON SPACE.  

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It is crucial that we get to the root of suicide amongst LGBT+/Queer youth, which is primarily lack of acceptance. When one feels alone in the world, it is the worst, most heartbreaking feeling. Unfortunately, many of us, including myself, have felt like this at some point in our life. Although I am someone who is lucky enough to have a family who accepts me and my partner I was, for a long time, afraid to come out. This fear led to many failed hetero relationships and depression so deep that I  attempted suicide on multiple occasions. Had I known how many resources that were out there and that being queer wasn't just another label that would make me even more different, my youth would have had a much different outcome. This is why resources for LGBT+ youth are crucial parts of our communities.

MY LGBT PLUS and COMMON SPACE are both fantastic resources for LGBT+ youth. There are also resources like The Trevor Project that provide suicide hotlines for LGBT+ youth.  As stated on their website, The Trevor Project is "the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13–24". Click here to go to their website where there are many resources for those who are struggling.

These organizations are a tremendous help to those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts, However until the stigma of being "queer" is lifted there will be barriers. Humans are social creatures, and we all require a sense of belonging to thrive. Without a sense of belonging, suicide rates go up. There are, however, things that can be done to help these kids feel a sense of belonging.

What Can We Do?

School should be a safe place for our youth. It is crucial for teachers to let students know it is perfectly normal to be LGBT+/Queer. LGBT+ after-school programs have been very successful in bringing together kids who are queer and looking for friends who are like them and will accept them. Schools need to enact assemblies about the LGBT+ community, letting youth know they are not alone, as well as provide inclusive sexual education classes. There are many resources for teachers who are trying to be inclusive of their LGBT+ students. You can find some of these resources by clicking here.  If those who work in schools make sure youth do not feel alone, and provide more mental health resources, suicide rates will undeniably go down.

For parents reading this, these types of topics can be brought up at your local school board meetings, as well as in PTA meetings. PFLAG is a fantastic resource to help parents in with LGBT+ children. They are about, "uniting people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) with families, friends, and allies, PFLAG is committed to advancing equality through its mission of support, education, and advocacy." If parents come together and are advocates for their children, they can accomplish anything. Another excellent resource for parents who are struggling parents with an LGBT+ child is http://mykidisgay.com/resources/. This site includes numerous resources that bring awareness, as well as explain what laws are in place to protect our LGBT+ community. All parents should understand suicide statistics of LGBT+ youth. There are many cases where parents turn around and learn to accept their queer children because they want what is best for their child.

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When children are shunned at school and home, they can feel helpless. This is where the community efforts can come into play. There is a LGBTQI Youth Alliance meeting every Friday at 7 pm. at the Big Red Church, 2131 N. Van Ness Blvd. Fresno, CA. This is a fantastic resource that can help struggling youth by bringing them together. Meetings like this can give a child something to look forward to, and something to help them restore a sense of belonging. Although not all communities are as open as ours in Fresno, more meetings like this across the country would be a big step. Someday maybe our society will have as many LGBT+ acceptance meetings as there are AA meetings

You Are Not Alone

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If you, or anyone you know, is feeling alone and helpless, like no one in the world is there for you, please do not forget that we as a community are here for you. Many events are happening all around the Central Valley for the LGBT+ community that provide support. We are here for you all at MY LGBT PLUS.If you are reading this and are currently having suicidal thoughts, please call one of these suicide hotlines below.

Remember you are not alone. I promise IT GETS BETTER!                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Hotlines

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The Trevor Project: (888) 642-3405
Click here for their website

Teen Suicide Hotline: (310) 879-0379
Click here for their website

Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Click here for their website

Trans Lifeline:
US:  (877) 565-8860
Canada: (877) 330-6366
Click here for their website

 


Sources

Allen, S. (2017, January). Just How Many LGBT Americans are There. The Daily Beast, (), .

Retrieved from https://www.thedailybeast.com/just-how-many-lgbt-americans-are-there?ref=scroll 

Christensen, J. (2017, December). LGBQ Teens Face Serious Suicide Risk, Research Finds.

CNN, (), . Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2017/12/19/health/lgbq-teens-suicide-risk-study/index.html

LGBTQ Youth Resources. (2017). Retrieved from

https://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth/youth-resources.htm#school

Suicide Among LGBT Youth. (2018). Retrieved from     

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_among_LGBT_youth

https://www.cnn.com/2017/12/19/health/lgbq-teens-suicide-risk-study/index.html

Fresno Youth Organizer, GSA Network

Job Title: Fresno Youth Organizer      

Reports To: Lead Organizer, Central Valley

Status: Temporary part-time position up to 15 hours per week; $10.50 per hour; March through June 2018

About GSA Network:

Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network (GSA Network) is a national next-generation LGBTQ racial and gender justice organization that empowers and trains trans, queer and allied youth leaders to advocate, organize, and mobilize an intersectional movement for safer and healthier schools. GSA Network of California currently runs a network of more than 1100 GSA clubs throughout California. The Fresno office of GSA Network strives to provide resources and trainings to GSAs throughout the Central Valley Region. You can learn more about our work at www.gsanetwork.org.

Youth Organizer:

GSA Network is seeking an experienced LGBTQ youth organizer and activist to support our work in the Central Valley. Under the supervision of our lead organizer, this position will assist GSA programmatic work primarily in Fresno and other places in the Central Valley. The position will equip LGBTQ youth of color with skills to advocate for safer communities and schools.

Principal Responsibilities:

  • Assist with logistics and outreach for monthly youth council meetings and related activities
  • Assist with coordinating and facilitating Expression Not Suppression (ENS) youth conference planning meetings
  • Support with preparation of curriculum and materials necessary for youth meetings
  • Conduct workshops for LGBTQ youth and GSA leaders on educational justice and other issues at the intersections of racial, economic and queer justice
  • Outreach youth participants for GSA Network hosted and collaborative events
  • Develop relationships with local GSA Clubs and participate in school site visits
  • When necessary represent GSA Network in local coalitions that advancing healthy school environments in the target areas
  • Provide technical assistance and support to campaigns being run by GSA youth leaders in this region
  • Assist in the recruitment and logistics for our GSA Summer Activist Camp. This is a 3-4 day overnight learning experience that includes anti-oppression curriculum, community organizing and leadership skills
  • Other duties as assigned

 

Qualifications:

  • 1-2 years of youth organizing
  • Knowledge about GSA clubs, LGBTQ youth issues, campaigns, organizing, facilitating, curriculum development, and racial, gender, and economic justice
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team, with people from a variety of different, racial, ethnic, socio-economic, educational, religious, sexual, gender, and generational backgrounds  
  • Good written and verbal communication skills
  • Time management, event planning, and writing skills
  • Ability to connect with and interact with LGBTQ youth of color
  • Ability to work evenings and weekends to accommodate school schedules
  • Driver’s license and access to reliable car with insurance a plus

To Apply:

Send cover letter and resume via RecruiterBox.

Applications are being accepted until February 28, 2018. Start date for this position will be March 12, 2018 or earlier.

Equal Opportunity Employer: GSA Network is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from youth, people of color, people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, and people with disabilities.

QueerPeers Game Night - Jan 30, 2017

Join us for a Youth Game Night, co-hosted with the Fresbians - our local lesbian social group! We'll have Rockband in our lobby, as well as various board/video games throughout the space. 

Haven't been to QueerPeers? QueerPeers is a bi-monthly youth group for ages 12-20. Each hangout is a safe place for youth to be themselves, make friends and show pride 🌈

QueerPeer Youth Hangouts are the second Saturday of every month at 2:30-4:00PM AND on the last Tuesday of every month from 5:30-7:00PM.

Our mission is to create a safe place in common space 💜

Q Clothing Closet at Fresno State

Exciting news! LGBTQ+ Programs and Services of the Cross Cultural and Gender Center, Fresno State is currently in the works of creating a clothing closet targeted towards trans and gender non-conforming people! It is called the Q Clothing Closet and will be available to folks via pop-up shops in their center once a month.

For now, this resource is available to Fresno State students, but they are hoping to expand once things get going. Participants also do not have to identify as LGBTQ+ to use the space.  

Their first donation drive is February 14-16, 2018. They are accepting donations from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. in the Thomas building, room 110.

Here is the flyer for the drive: 

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Internship: GSA Network

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Central Valley Youth Intern

Internship: Local Event Planning Intern, Central Valley CA
Internship Supervised by: Marcus Navarro, Fresno Youth Organizer
Internship Hours and compensation: 10 hours per week for 12 weeks at $10 per hour. Hours are flexible depending on intern’s availability.

About GSA Network:
Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network (GSA Network) is a national next-generation LGBTQ racial and gender justice organization that empowers and trains trans, queer and allied youth leaders to advocate, organize, and mobilize an intersectional movement for safer and healthier schools. GSA Network of California currently runs a network of more than 1100 GSA clubs throughout California. The Central Valley office of the GSA Network of California strives to provide resources and trainings to GSAs throughout the region.
Campaign Development Intern:

This internship position will primarily support the outreach and implementation of a youth led, one day summit planned for November 2017. This event is intended for youth to share knowledge, gain leadership skills, and connect with others in the LGBTQ+ community. This event will be available to all youth in the region and is free of charge. The intern will help to coordinate logistics and trainings for this summit as well as to assist preparing for planning meetings leading up to the November summit. This intern will also support Fresno Youth Organizer with strengthening the region’s youth council. The youth council is composed of 10-15 youth from the region who provide leadership throughout the school year in all GSA Network activities. The intern will support the youth council by attending the youth council monthly meetings and helping the Fresno Youth Organizer with logistics for these meetings. In addition, the intern will assist Fresno Youth Organizer in the preparation of curriculum and materials for youth council meetings and the November summit.

Volunteer/Intern Responsibilities:

  • Assist with logistics and outreach for monthly youth council meetings and activities leading to the youth summit in November 2017
  • Assist with coordinating and facilitating planning meetings
  • Support with preparation of curriculum and materials necessary for youth meetings and the summit in November
  • Other duties as assigned

Interns will gain experience and skills in:

  • Facilitation
  • Event planning
  • Curriculum and training development
  • LGBTQ youth issues
  • Youth leadership development and youth organizing
  • Outreach and base building

A qualified intern should have:

  •  Interest in and basic familiarity with concepts relating to Genders & Sexualities Alliance clubs, LGBTQ youth issues, campaigns, organizing, facilitating, curriculum development, and racial, gender and economic justice

  • Time management, event planning and writing skills

  • Ability to connect with and interact with LGBTQ youth of color

  • Ability to work some weekends and afternoons

To be considered for this internship:
Send cover letter and resume to CVInternship@gsanetwork.org Applications are being accepted until September 8th, 2017

GSA Network is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from youth, people of color, people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, and people with disabilities. 

Queer Pop Up Shop - Visalia

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Join us for a one day genderless pop up shop at The Source LGBT+ Center in Downtown Visalia! Browse through items on display, try clothes on and go home with things that represent you. 

It's a brown bag sale | All the clothes, shoes and accessories you can fit in a bag are yours for $5. Proceeds will benefit MY LGBT PLUS and The Source.

Interested in donating? The Source LGBT+ Center will be collecting new/gently used items on September 5 through September 8 from 3-6PM.

Gay & Lesbian Center Bakersfield Patio Rebuild

Support the Gay & Lesbian Center Bakersfield

If you haven't been to the Gay & Lesbian Center in Bakersfield (You should), but what makes their space so unique is the outdoor patio. Unfortunately, all of their furniture decor was stolen leaving the center with just a blank canvas of concrete. They have started a Patio Project to rebuild an outdoor area for the community to gather in.

Goal/Estimated costs of the project: $1,000

How you can support:

  • Make a monetary donation
  • Provide an item on the Wish List (Click the box below for details)
  • Donate a Gift Card from Home Depot, Lowe's, Floyd's, etc.
  • Pitch in with YOUR talents and energy, have some fun and Make the Patio Project Happen.

Images below show just a glimpse of what the center hopes to transform the space into.

27th Annual Fresno Rainbow Pride

Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade & Festival is one of the Central Valley's largest LGBT+ community events. More than ever, it is important to be visible and vocal. Take your one step towards equality.

This years theme is: ONE STEP STARTS A MOVEMENT

Pride Parade begins at 10:00 AM from Palm Avenue to Maroa Avenue in the Tower District. The parade is free to attend.

Pride Festival begins following the parade on Fulton Avenue. There is a $5.00 entry fee to enter the festival. Inside the festival will be local nonprofits, vendors, food, dance tents and more!

Fresno Pride is hosted by Community Link.

LGBT+ Focus Group in Visalia

The Source LGBT+ Center is hosting a focus group to improve access in health and human services in Tulare County. The focus group will be held on: June 8, 2017 from 4:30 - 6:30 PM and is anonymous.

10 - 12 participants are needed. Each individual will receive a gift card for participation.

The Source LGBT+ Center is located at 208 W. Main Street, Suite B, Visalia, CA 93291.

 

 

Merced LGBTQ Alliance Meeting

Mission Statement: The mission of the Merced LGBTQ Alliance is to advocate for the interests of the LGBTQ+ and Ally community within Merced County. We celebrate our diversity and advocate for justice and opportunities for members.

This is the agenda posted on the Merced LGBTQ Alliance Facebook Page:

  1. Call to Order
  2. Approve minutes from March 1, 2017
  3. Opportunity for member input. At this time, any person may comment on any item which is not on the agenda. Please state your name for the record. Action will not be taken on an item that is not on the agenda. IF it requires action, it will be placed on a future agenda, or be voted as an item of immediate concern, in which case it will be placed at the bottom of the agenda. In order that all interested parties have an opportunity to speak, please limit comments to a maximum of three (3) minutes. To comment on an item that is on the agenda, please wait until the item is read for consideration; please limit comments to a maximum of three (3) minutes.
  4. Confirmation of Irvin Guzman Gutierrez for Treasurer, and Claudia Corchado for Member-At-Large
  5. MOU with Gay Central Valley
  6. Budget for Youth Group
  7. Budget for Special Events
  8. Pride in the Park 2017 (Budget and hours/date)
  9. Storage unit
  10. Announcements
  11. Adjournment

Expression Not Suppression (Fresno)

Genders & Sexualities Alliance (GSA) Network is hosting their annual Expression Not Suppression (ENS) Youth Conference!

Saturday, April 22, 2017
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM

Wesley United Methodist Church
1343 E. Barstow Avenue, Fresno, CA 93710

COST: FREE!  ENS also includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Our Founder Justin Kamimoto will be the keynote speaker at this years conference. The end of the day will feature a drag/talent show, dance, and social.

theSOURCE LGBT+ Center Expanding

Written by Nicholas Vargas
 
A memory came up in my Facebook newsfeed today.  It reminded me that a year ago today a small group of Visalians met in the conference room of my church to discuss the IDEA of an LGBT center in Visalia.  The idea was that of my best friend, Brian Poth.  Brian and I had been friends for just under a year, but we quickly bonded over a shared experience of having returned to our home town after going away to college, having successful careers, and then returning to be with family.  When Brian brought up the idea, I was all for it. But it wasn't until this meeting that I saw the energy and enthusiasm that would make it a reality.  Fast forward a year later, not only have has theSOURCE LGBT+ Center been open almost a year, but we have grown and thrived to the point of needing to expand and I am now the Board Chair.

The Source is located in Montgomery Square on Main Street in downtown Visalia.  We are fortunate to have this space. Our landlord, William Martin, was very generous with the lease. About a month ago, our next door office-neighbors heard we needed to expand and offered to move the vacant spot next to them, so that we could take over their space.  Every step of the way, theSOURCE has been blessed with support from the community.  It's a community driven effort.

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This move will double the space of The Source.  We will go from 400 square feet to 800 square feet.  It will allow us to have more people in the space, more room for youth groups, recovery groups, support groups, resources, and social space.  We just need to be able to fund it.  We estimate the increase in rent and expense will be $5000.  We created a crowd funding request on Crowdrise. We have raised nearly $3100 from individual donors and one corporate sponsor.  We have almost $1900 to go.  We can do it with your support.  We are in the process of applying for grants and have key fundraisers planned later this year.  However, right now, we are still relying on the generosity of the community and individuals.  

Please consider making an investment in the LGBT community in Tulare County.  Every donation is an act of progress and a vote for inclusion.

Facebook Live with Cleve Jones

Don’t want to watch President Trump’s first televised address?

INSTEAD … Join LGBT hero and REAL-LIFE inspiration for the book & ABC mini-series WHEN WE RISE – Cleve Jones -- for a “behind-the-scenes” discussion on Facebook Live.

Tuesday, February 28 from 6:00-6:30pm PST
FACEBOOK LIVE: http://www.facebook.com/unitehere

Submit your questions to Cleve in advance by
texting ASKCLEVE to 877-877 or Tweet @CleveJones1.

--

Next week, ABC airs its critically acclaimed mini-series WHEN WE RISE, chronicling the American gay rights movement through the real-life stories of activists Cleve Jones, Roma Guy, Ken Jones, Sally Gearhart and Cecilia Chung.

When we found out that DAY 2 of WHEN WE RISE was going to be pre-empted by a televised address by President Trump, we thought – THAT’s NOT RIGHT!

So we’re organizing our own party. We bring you Cleve Jones to share the stories behind the ABC series and book When We Rise.

Join us to hear more about his life in the movement and plans for taking back our country!

Information from the United Here Facebook Event Page here.

PFLAG Tulare & Kings Counties Scholarship

PFLAG Tulare & Kings Counties is part of a national support, education, and advocacy organization for the LGBT+ community, their families, friends and allies. The local chapter is offering a $500 scholarship for students residing in Tulare & Kings Counties. The applicant must be entering an accredited vocational school, college or university.

Application Deadline: April 30, 2017
No application will be considered after this date

Completed applications can be mailed to:
PFLAG Kings-Tulare Counties
4125 W. Noble Ave, #164
Visalia, CA 93277

Visalia Lions Pride Valentine's Dinner & Dante

The Visalia Lions Pride is hosting their 7th Annual LGBT+ and Friends Valentine's event! 

February 18, 2017
6:00 - 11:45 PM

Wyndham Visalia
9000 W Airport Dr
Visalia, CA 93277

There will also be a meet and greet in the hotels bar at 4:30 PM. 

You can purchase tickets by clicking here

Bakersfield LGBTQ Youth Summit

Equality, leadership, success, empowerment and youth voices! 

The Dolores Huerta Foundation is hosting the 2nd Annual LGBTQ Youth Summit in Bakersfield, CA. Workshops to include topics on family acceptance, sexual health, community organizing and student rights. 

March 4, 2017
9 AM - 3 PM

California State University, Bakersfield
9001 Stockdale Hwy, Bakersfield, CA
Event will be held in the Student Union

Register online at by clicking here.

GSA Youth Summit (Visalia)

The Source LGBT+ Center is hosting their first ever GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) Summit! 
Be a part of history and join local Tulare County GSA members for a summit to organize and align missions. See what other schools are doing in the area. Meet other like minded high school students who are passionate about LGBT+ issues. Find out about local scholarships, The Source's GSA movie night, and the possibility of an alternative prom! Food, friends, fun!

A Facebook event has been created here. 

MY LGBT PLUS at PFLAG Tulare/Kings Counties

Our Founder Justin Kamimoto will be the guest speaker at PFLAG Tulare & Kings Counties talking about MY LGBT PLUS, our sister program Fresno's MEAL, and sharing details about our new parent organization COMMON SPACE! 

Sunday, February 19
3 PM - 5 PM

Congregation B'Nai David
1039 S. Chinowth St
Visalia, CA 93277

Haven't been to PFLAG before?
PFLAG's Mission: By meeting people where they are and collaborating with others, PFLAG:

(1) Support for families, allies and people who are LGBTQ

(2) Education for ourselves and others about the unique issues and challenges facing people who are LGBTQ

(3) Advocacy in our communities to change attitudes and create policies and laws that achieve full equality for people who are LGBTQ