One Equal World

Archive for the ‘lgbtq’ Category

An image of a rainbow-colored rose with the words, "Stop homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia" above it.

Image credit: Shutterstock

Planned Parenthood Toronto is on a mission. Via their project, the LGBTQ Youth Initiative, they are out to improve the lives of queer youth. And with the Send the Right Message campaign, they’re targeting straight and cisgender youth to do their part: to stand up and be the force of the solution.

With a slogan of “Think of your impact. Rethink your words,” the poster and postcard campaign challenges all youth not only to remove anti-gay and anti-trans pejoratives from their casual language, but gives them scripts to speak up when company uses slurs or passes along stereotypes.

For example, one shows a skateboarder texting.

“Sure she came out as bi, but we both know she’s a lesbian,” says a text they’ve received.

“I love you, but I think that she knows her identity better than you do,” is their response.

The lessons focus on transphobia, gender essentiallism, biphobia, and identity policing with short, lightweight text exchanges. They call out microaggressions that might be easily dismissed, and that is what they want their youth targets to do.

Many young people want to be good allies, but where do they learn how? It’s more than going to Pride or wearing a rainbow pin. Being a good ally is about removing a burden from your LGBTQ friends, and one of the largest burden is that of educating others.

When a queer person challenges someone’s use of a slur or a stereotype, they get accused of beating people over the head with their identity, and their concerns brushed off. But if greater and greater numbers of people, cisgender, straight, and queer made it clear that these microaggressions were unacceptable, they would fade from common use.

It’s worth taking a look around Send the Right Messages’s website: it features a Privilege 101 FAQ that is written very kindly, and they want feedback on it from the LGBTQ community.

A photo of a teenage boy sitting on a bed at a homeless shelter.

Image: Shutterstock

Though Bea Arthur died in 2009, the Maude and Golden Girls star is still giving. She bequeathed $300,000 to the Ali Forney Center, which she had long supported throughout her life. The Center is dedicated to helping LGBTQ+ homeless youth in New York City, who make up about 40% of the city’s estimated 4,000 homeless teenagers.

Despite a general trend toward acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community in this country, there are still a lot of families who, upon finding out that their children are lesbian, gay, transgender, or otherwise identify within that community, cut all ties with those children. These kids are kicked out and often wind up on the street, because it’s hard to be a teenager without a home anywhere, much less in a city like New York.

But thanks to Bea Arthur, the Ali Forney Center has been able to help a lot of those kids get by. They have 12 housing sites and a 24/7 drop-in center geared toward helping homeless LGBTQ+ youth. Her gift helped the organization make it through the recession, and now they’re nearing completion on their newest youth home in the East Village, the Bea Arthur Residence. The new residence will have 18 beds and is expected to open in February of 2017.

Though 18 beds may not sound like a lot, the new residence will help to alleviate New York City’s homeless crisis, where every little bit helps. Remember, too, that New York is one of the most expensive cities in the world, and real estate there is not only difficult to come by, but expensive as well. Getting 18 beds into a building is a pretty impressive feat, and it will allow those kids to stay in the city that they already call home, while they get on their own two feet and find ways to move on with their lives.