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Riding the Rails on Christmas: Helping Homeless LGBTQIA Youth

By : December 18, 2020 01 Comment
In the dead of winter in Chicago, an African-American male teen sits asleep on an L Train during an early morning rush hour commute. His clothes -  a white t-shirt which he folds his arms inside to shield them from the cold, and blue jeans - are stained with dirt. The tongues of his white laceless, well-worn gym shoes stand stiff. The muddy laces limp on the cold train’s wet rubber flooring. His dreadlocked hair is filled with lint and other debris. His face is bruised, tired, and sunk in. His skin is dry, muddied, and peeling. He is Homeless. He sits alone in the far back corner. The morning commuters board, frown at the mere sight of him, walk in the opposite direction, and sit. It is prudent to
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(Kids) Queer Friendly Extracurricular Activities

By : November 1, 2020 Comments Off
*Note: This article was originally published on Pride Pocket prior to merging with MyUmbrella* Extra-curricular activities provide essential developmental opportunities for youth: socially, creatively, and even health-wise. Community service organizations build character, theatre activities encourage teamwork and originality, and sports impart values of hard work and perseverance. One can see these are positive things every young person would hopefully encounter. When any extra-curricular activity leaves out a certain population, kids are missing out on these singular chances. There is an overarching fear that making activities accessible or accommodating to certain participants harms the integrity of the activity or makes it an unequal measure. The truth is, failing to make accommodations is what makes an activity inequitable. We all have the power to rewrite the rules of games, clubs, and competitions
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Francine’s “Partner” Experience

By : September 9, 2020 Comments Off
As of my senior year, I’ve been with my current partner, so almost four years. I call him my partner because I’m bisexual, and one of my preferences regarding pronouns is using terms such as “partner” instead of boyfriend, or fiancé, or husband. If I were dating a woman, she would be my partner, too. For me, this is deeper than inclusion: it’s a safety net. To understand why this is important to me, I have to recollect on my experiences in high school and middle school. I never came out, I had always had relationships with both women and men, and everyone who knew me knew that gender was not one of my preferences. It was a strange, unceremonial event: one day I started dating my best friend, and
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LGBTQ Youth and Mental Health

By : September 3, 2020 Comments Off
A lot of LGBTQ people experience uncomfortability at the doctor's office or hospital. I know for myself it was difficult to have conversations with medical professionals. The questions they asked me as a teen often assumed heterosexuality. They asked if I was sexually active, and if I respond yes then the immediate follow-up information given was about pregnancy or condom use (in reference to the male anatomy), which frankly was not an issue for my sixteen-year-old queer self. This developed into a hesitation to see medical professionals and though I am over that now because I met doctors who are extremely educated on LGBTQ topics, it can be detrimental to people if they do not feel welcome in a medical space. The LGBTQ community are highly susceptible to mental health
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My Family Was Ready to Communicate, but I Wasn’t

By : July 15, 2020 Comments Off
Regard this statement as fact, rather than with pity: I have always been the outlier in my family. While every child feels like this at some point during adolescence, it seems to be a stronger feeling among those that grew up in the 90s until now. This stronger feeling must be provoking stronger actions if the complaints from parents and older siblings are true: teenagers and children today isolate themselves more than previous generations.  Over the years, the stereotype of an angsty, explosive teenager among an otherwise friendly suburban family has evolved into a teenager that simply doesn’t express themself at all. Said teen’s family is completely out of the loop, unsure if their child is depressed, angry, wondering if they have any interest in the world at all. The
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I am Non-Binary.

By : May 25, 2020 Comments Off
This is the deepest and most personal thing I’ve ever written. I am non-binary. It’s important for me to say it that way because this isn’t something that I’ve just now become, I have been non-binary since birth and for me, I do not in my core, soul, spirit, ether, etc. feel that I am fully one gender or the other. I am both and none. All of them.  Plus everything in-between; I am a grey area. So is life. I want those who read this to understand what I mean and try to empathize before breezing through my words. Stop, reflect, and just breathe. Understand for one moment what I am trying to express. Call it a selah moment if you want— whatever works. There’s no way to describe
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