According to the Trevor Project, in 2022, only 55% of LGBTQ+ youth considered school an affirming environment. School-age youth who visit The Center come from a variety of backgrounds; some are navigating the City’s shelter systems, while others are fortunate enough to have access to private schooling. While many of the students we see experience bullying and antagonism, it’s not always at the hands of other students; sometimes, the bullies come in the form of administrators and biased school policies.
With this in mind, to kick off the 2023-24 school year, we’re hosting our first-ever Back to School Bash, an event that addresses the urgent concerns young LGBTQ+ people have shared with us in anticipation of returning to school.
Sometimes it really is about the basics: young people need support procuring things like school supplies and backpacks. Others have been asking about connections to jobs and internships. In addition to providing these services, we’re planning to create a fun, affirming, and empowering environment.
In the words of our Youth Leadership Developer, Salem Joseph, “The school year can feel like this brand new experience where young people get to debut themselves and how they’ve changed over the summer; for us, it’s exciting to just be a part of that process, helping them feel like somebody’s in their corner as they make this new debut. I hope people see this event as a way to know The Center is in their corner.”