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Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning youth

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Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning youth have specific health needs and need safe places in the community where they can explore their feelings, socialize, and get support during adolescence and/or the coming out process. Many of these youth face discrimination and bullying, and need the support of parents,teachers, clinicians, and community members. Below is a resource list with links and brief descriptions for the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Outlet Program, Mountain View – Outlet supports and empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth ages 13-20 living on the Peninsula and South Bay. Through a range of support services, leadership training, community education and advocacy, Outlet successfully increases youth confidence, builds personal assets, and creates healthier communities.

The Billy Defrank Center, San Jose - Youth programs provide a safe space for youth to develop their sexual and gender identities and empower them to realize their potential as valuable members of the community.

Lyric, San Francisco - Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center (LYRIC) is a community center for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth 23 and younger. LYRIC’s mission is to build community and inspire positive social change through education enhancement, career training, health promotion, and leadership development with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth, their families, and allies of all races, classes, genders, and abilities.

The Pacific Center - Berkeley - The Pacific Center is a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community center serving the East Bay and Greater Bay Area that offers a broad array of human and health services for LGBT people of all ages and backgrounds.

The Lambda Youth Project, Hayward - The Lambda Youth Project serves needs of LGBTQQ youth as well as their friends and families. It provides a safe place for young people to explore feeling and connect with other young people, and creates drug/alcohol free activities and events.

SMAAC, Oakland - SMAAC Youth Center provides a safe space for youth who would otherwise have no such space in their lives. In additional to safe, supervised recreational activities, the Center provides one-on-one mentoring, health education, computer training and access, employment assistance, leadership and facilitation training, counseling and support to these often overlooked youth.

STRANGE, Santa Cruz - STRANGE is a nonprofit youth organization that serves and empowers the multi-racial, intersex, transgender, queer, bisexual, lesbian, gay, and questioning youth of Santa Cruz County and their straight and adult allies. They create safe spaces, which provide opportunities for support, socializing, and activist work to end the social isolation often experienced by these youth and to build a strong community.

The Diversity Center, Santa Cruz - The Diversity Center is a community center dedicated to advancing the causes and priorities of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning (LGBTIQ) individuals and their allies in Santa Cruz County.

Positive Images, Sonoma County - Positive Images provides a safe space for teens and young adults and provides community educational services for high schools, businesses, community-based organizations, colleges, hospitals, social service departments, and other organizations interested in learning more about the issues facing GLBTQQI youth and young adults.

Spectrum, Marin County - Spectrum hosts and collaborates with a variety of programs, groups and activities for the LGBT community, including Rainbow's End, a facilitated social and support group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth ages 14-19 that meets weekly for fun, discussion, and support.

The GSA Network, based in San Francisco, serves all of California - Gay-Straight Alliance Network is a youth-led organization that connects school-based Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) to each other and community resources. Through peer support, leadership development, and training, GSA Network supports young people in starting, strengthening, and sustaining GSAs and builds the capacity of GSAs to:
  • create safe environments in schools for students to support each other and learn about homophobia and other oppressions
  • educate the school community about homophobia, gender identity, and sexual orientation issues
  • fight discrimination, harassment, and violence in schools
Resources for queer parents and parents with queer children (adult and teen children)
Colage - Exists to engage, connect, and empower people to make the world a better place for children of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender parents and families.

PFLAG San Jose Chapter - Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) promotes the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons, their families and friends through: support, to cope with an adverse society; education, to enlighten an ill-informed public; and advocacy, to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays provides opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.

Transgender specific organizations, local and national
The word "transgender" is an umbrella term that includes female and male cross dressers, transvestites, drag queens and kings, female and male impersonators, intersexed individuals, pre-operative, post-operative and non-operative transsexuals, masculine females, feminine males, all persons whose perceived gender or anatomical sex may be incongruent with their gender expression, and all persons exhibiting gender characteristics and identities which are perceived to be androgynous.

Transgender Law Center, San Francisco - The Transgender Law Center (TLC) is a civil rights organization advocating for transgender communities. They connect transgender people and their families to technically sound and culturally competent legal services, increase acceptance and enforcement of laws and policies that support California's transgender communities, and work to change laws and systems that fail to incorporate the needs and experiences of transgender people.

Transgender San Francisco - TransGender San Francisco is a non-profit corporation dedicated to serving the educational, social, and recreational needs of the transgendered community. TGSF is also dedicated to educating the general public about transgenderism and promoting a positive image of transgendered persons among the general public. The transgendered community includes all transgendered persons, their family and friends, and anyone with a sincere interest in the transgendered.

Youth TIES, SF Bay Area - Youth Trans & Intersex Education Services (Youth TIES) is a youth-led organization advocating for trans, gender-variant, intersex and questioning (TGIQ) youth. They address the challenges facing TGIQ youth in the San Francisco Bay Area by educating the service providers who work with them, and providing TGIQ youth with information and referrals.

Gender.ORG - Gender Education and Advocacy (GEA) is a national organization focused on the needs, issues and concerns of gender variant people in human society. They seek to educate and advocate for all human beings who suffer from gender-based oppression in all of its many forms.

And for parents with gender variant children
The Gender Development Program (GDP) provides outpatient psychosocial evaluations and therapeutic services for children, adolescents and their families. The program focuses on gender variant behaviors and gender or sexual identity development. The GDP also assists children with these issues and co-occurring mental health disorders, as well as provides psychosocial consultation for children with medical genital conditions.

Photo credit: rt69

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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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