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Jan 9, 2019

In a room of judges & lawyers, they held their own

Youth conversation on gender
Youth conversation on gender

They held their own in a room full of judges and lawyers.

True Colors’ youth development work is directly funded by people like you. Without you, none of this would happen.  We wanted to share a couple of stories about the difference this work makes for our developing  youth leaders.  These young people are not the leaders of tomorrow – they are leading, educating and changing the world they live in right now – because of donors like you. 

The Youth Leadership team starts in September. The curriculum is wide-ranging. It includes much self-exploration using an intersectional lens.  What does it mean to be you? How is your experience the same and different than your LGBTQ+ peers? How does your culture, history and community inform your identity? What lens are you using to view the world? What lenses are you leaving out?  As part of their growth and development, the team determines the content and then facilitates various Friday night community conversations. Our youth activities coordinator shared this story about a recent conversation.

“The October current Events discussion was about cultural appropriation, in part to connect to Halloween. The youth team came up with an opening activity that involved handing out post-its with scenarios written on them for people to place on either side of an appropriation vs. appreciation line. Many were placed differently than the team expected so there was plenty to talk about. Bren especially came through as a leader during this activity. One scenario that was argued to be ‘appreciation’ was white people wearing dreads, something Bren feels especially strong about. Bren was able to put their personal feelings aside to patiently and respectfully listen to the views of the young white person who placed it before gently explaining the reasons it was appropriative, pausing frequently to ask questions or otherwise connect so that it was never a lecture. The conversation was respectful and quiet; at one point Bren even sat on the floor to hear the person better and to establish themself as equals with the student. This was really great to see as of the three, Bren is the most hesitant to speak out, but they’ve been growing and pushing that limit so much!

The youth team also conducts trainings. In December, the youth team took on a project that felt really scary to them – sharing their stories and educating a room full of judges and lawyers, many of whom were considering gender diversity for the first time.  During the two hour dinner session, the youth gently, clearly, and competently fielded questions, some of which were profound and others which were profoundly uniformed.  The judges and lawyers came away feeling like they had learned a lot – and that what they learned would make a difference in their work. The youth came away flushed with the knowledge that not only could they hold their own in a room full of grown-ups, they could use their skills and their experience to make the world a better place for other LGBTQ+ youth. 

Your dollars make a difference. The Youth Team’s success is a great example of that.  Thank you for making this work possible! 

youth conversation on cultural appropriation
youth conversation on cultural appropriation
Friday night activity on stress
Friday night activity on stress
Friday drag convo
Friday drag convo

Links:

Nov 15, 2018

Home for the holidays?

Game night - one of our Friday night activities
Game night - one of our Friday night activities

     Jay* thought he would be 'home for the holidays'.  He has been in out-of-home care, mostly group homes, since he came out as transgender and his family no longer wanted him.  A potential foster family came froward and everything was looking good.  Until they backed out at the last minute.  And Jay was left in the lurch again.  

    Then, True Colors' community stepped up. And a new foster family was found.  It looks like he might be home for the holidays. We'll see. 

    As hard as his story is to hear, it is not unusual or unique.  Too many adolescents end up in group or restricted settings, not because they need to be there, but because there are no families willing to open their hearts and homes to a teenager.  

     Fortunately, there are people like you in the world.  You may not have room in your home, but you certainly have room in your heart and you demonstrate that over and over again with your support of our work.

     As we move into Thanksgiving and the Holiday Season, we at True Colors, want to tell you how grateful we are to you.  You make it possible for us to do what we do. And we know, we can't do it without you.  Thank you!

 

*Jay's name was changed to protect his privacy

One of the dozens of school visits we do each year
One of the dozens of school visits we do each year
A scene from our annual conference
A scene from our annual conference
Current Events discussion with youth on ableism
Current Events discussion with youth on ableism

Links:

Oct 11, 2018

Just some of what your support makes possible

Draguation
Draguation

Many of the programs and services that True Colors provides have no source of funding other than through the generosity of people like you. Here are some of the stories that your support made possible:

  • Queer Academy (QA) is a free, six week summer program that focuses on both community and self-exploration and development. James*, a 16 year old transgender boy living in group home after having been in residential treatment for many months, came into QA with a ‘screw you!’ attitude and an unwillingness to interact with the other participants. With support, encouragement (and an occasional ‘reality check’) James began to participate, to laugh and to connect. At the final Presentation of Learning, he enthusiastically explained his project on international transgender identities to everyone who came into the event. A couple of nights later, at Draguation, just six weeks after he started the program, James launched his first stand-up comedy routine much to his own and the audience’s delight. That is transformational work.

  • When Andre* was referred to the mentoring program, he was a depressed and angry 11 year old gay boy who was failing most of his classes and had been hospitalized for both suicidal and homicidal thoughts of harming himself and his younger siblings. His mother hated the fact that he was ‘like that’ and refused to let him tell anyone else in his family. We matched him with a lesbian couple. They not only supported him, but worked with his whole family, taking the younger kids out so the mom could have a minute to herself, helping with things like laundry and Andre’s tutoring. At the one year match meeting, his mom was a different person. She not only supported her gay son, but had opened her home to a young gay nephew who was being mistreated by his mom. As she grew to accept her son, he began to accept himself. His grades went up. He came off his medication and came out to his whole family. Seven years later, the match is intact and Andre graduated from high school. He started community college this fall. The funding for this match ended after year one. Because of the support of people like you, our support for the match continues….

  • True Colors fields over 3,000 calls a year from people needing resources, advocacy or support. The only source of income for area of our work is you! Here’s a sample of the calls:
    • One of our kindergarten students is starting the process of transitioning with her family support. As Mom said to us yesterday, her child wants everybody to know that he is now a boy. Can you talk to the family?

    • Got a call from a school this morning about a 15 year old transgender boy with a “Born Again” Christian mom who has told the school that she doesn’t support his identity and that she won’t give permission for him to participate in any supportive activities (such as the GSA) or to talk with any members or adult advisors of the group.

    • From a school superintendent: I am in need of the following information: How long does the name change process take in court?   So allowing the adequate time frame for transcripts and or diploma to read their new name. How old is a (minor) on the PC 900 REV form - to complete the process independently? Also, I know my school would require a form for the student to sign to allow the process to go forward.  Do you have a sample or a form from another school who has gone forward in this policy change? Do you have a copy of the letter that the CT Ed sent to all superintendents?  

    • I am at ___ these days.  Looking to identify what needs our community has and how we could step up and meet those needs, our minister wondered if a support group or program for LGBTIA youth might be something we could offer.  I stopped by the True Colors booth at Woodbury's Earth Day celebration and learned that there really isn't anything in our area.  Is there someone at TC who could help us design and promote a program/offering in the Southbury/Woodbury area? 

The need is great. But your support and generosity is greater. And we are very, very, grateful.

*youth names have been changed

Presentation of Learning
Presentation of Learning
Queer Academy
Queer Academy
Friday night activity
Friday night activity
Presentation of Learning
Presentation of Learning

Links:

 
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