It's been a while since we last updated you.
We’d like to sincerely thank all the donors who are supporting us through GlobalGiving.
Each one of the stories we heard during over 400 counseling sessions with our LGBTQIA+ youth is important. When our youth called us and told said “I want to kill myself,” we saw and felt the deep sadness, anxiety, and anger through the phone line. We did our best to support youths who struggled with debilitating gender dysphoria, telling them that it’s okay to have body dysphoria until they began to believe that they will be okay.
We reached LGBTQIA+ youth across the country through tens of thousands of messages exchanged via our anonymous messaging counseling service, and over 400 individual sessions. (In 2019 we had 81 cases of suicide crisis and self-harm; and 124 cases of acute mental health crisis.)
In 2019, LGBTQIA+ youth continued to be forced to hide who they are in order to survive and be loved by their family, friends, and those closest to them. For many youth in South Korea, coming out to their families and those around them results in abuse and violence, rather than acceptance and being celebrated for who they are. And when LGBTQIA+ youth are forced to leave their family and home, society refuses to treat them as human beings with rights.
(158 cases of family conflict, abuse, violence; 72 cases of forced estrangement from family; and 35 cases of housing instability, as compiled in 2019)
DDing Dong works to keep the light at the end of the tunnel lit for LGBTQIA+ youth in Korea. No matter how dim the light may seem at times, we work to make sure it never flickers out. We hold hands together with our youth, guiding each other through the darkest parts of the tunnel. And even when our youths can’t see the light, through the touch of our hands they know that it is and will always be lit.
As we keep walking in the tunnel together, we are able to celebrate a hard-won school graduation, the day when a formerly homeless youth has their first job interview, and the moment when someone looks you in the eye and smiles brightly for the first time.
(89 cases of counseling for emancipation, 80 cases of gender transition, 74 cases of career and/or education enrollment, as recorded in 2019.)
We believe that one day, every single one of us will reach the end of the tunnel and step out into the sunlight. This belief sustains and drives the work we do. In 2020, we hope to reach even more LGBTQIA+ youth in South Korea.
In 2019, DDing Dong had help from many supporters and volunteers.
Greetings from Dding Dong!
I am writing you today to share some exciting news and updates about our work between July and October.
Rainbow Flying Start to form support networks for queer youths in Korea
Dding Dong had visited Daegu in summer as many of you would remember from our last newsletter. This time, we visited three metropolitan cities (Incheon, Busan, and Gwangju) to work with the local communities for the Rainvow Flying Start program. In particular, our session in Busan was very special and invigorating as many people came to the event in spite of the typhoon.
Participants of the program included those who work for youth organizations, counsellors for teenagers, and students majoring in youth studies and counseling. Our training session was titled “How should we meet LGBTIQ youths?” and dealt with practical subjects, such as how to work with teenage LGBTIQ clients as an ally; how to counsel parents who want to “fix” their kid’s identity; and common biases and prejudices against LGBTIQs that counselors might have.
Rainbow Navigation T_Go for trans and non-binary youths
Rainbow Navigation T_Go is our unique program to help young trans and non-binary people struggling with issues of gender identity and gender expression. With this program, we help their journeys to find themselves, freed from the binary gender framework. For the past three months, we met on Satursdays, every two or three week to:
1) share each other’s experiences and support
2) meet with transgender adults
3) get medical and legal information they need for transitioning with the assistance of medical doctors and doctors in law.
The most popular session was the one in which they met and talked with adult transgender professionals. Our wonderful guests shared with us their experience of job searching, nurturing personal relationships with their parents, friend, and colleagues as a transgender individual, and coming out stories. We had ten participants in total for this program.
We also provided our regular counseling and crisis support service as usual.
July: face-to-face counseling (22); Phone counseling (5); online counseling (1); others (1)
We met with 29 clients in total.
August: face-to-face counseling (23); Phone counseling (10); online counseling (0); others (3)
We met with 36 clients in total.
September: face-to-face counseling (14); Phone counseling (13); online counseling (3); others (0)
We met with 30 clients in total.
It is noteworthy that many of our clients discussed with us about mental health, family conflict, performance at school, and career.
Monitoring Dding Dong’s organizational culture and strengthening our capacity for counseling and crisis support
On September 17, the Dding Dong office and volunteers (a.k.a. Dding-ga Dding-ga) had an education session on youth/LGBTIQ prostitution. Chacha from “E-LOOM Action for Anti-Prostitution and Human Rights” gave a lecture titled “LGBTIQ prostitution: The structure of prostitution, ‘minority prostitution,’ and support for LGBTIQ youths in prostitution industry.” The session helped us to learn about the problems of the current Act on the Protection of Children and Juveniles from Sexual Abuse.” It was also a great opportunity to ponder what Dding Dong needs to understand and consider in order to provide better counseling and crisis support.
Please do remember that Dding Dong can work thanks to you--our beloved donors and Global Giving!
Stay in solidarity with us so that we can continue to meet and welcome more LGBTIQ youths!
Peace and Love,
-Edhi in DDing Dong-
Greetings from Dding Dong!
From April to July, we kept ourselves busy with as well as reaching out to trans and genderqueer youths as well as organizing our regular programs. We also expanded our activities to regions other than Seoul; we set up booths at local queer cultural festivals and hosted the event called “Rainbow Flying Start” to meet with counselors, teachers, and social workers interested in connecting with queer youths.
“Rainbow Flying Start” is our special program developed to form a supportive community for queer youths in each region. LGBTQ teens who do not live in the Seoul Metropolitan Area tend to be more vulnerable to various crisis situations. Therefore, this program aims to create local communities that can support them as who they are.
“Dding Dong Kitchen”, our regular community lunch program with approximately ten LGBTQ youths each time, was held four times during the months of May and June. This program is also a place where we can share with one another our experiences, difficulties, and inconveniences we face as sexual minorities. In particular, we were able to hear stories from trans and genderqueer teenagers.
We can never emphasize enough how little information for self-reliance and how few role models are out there for them. For that reason, we plan to launch multiple programs specifically catering to young trans and genderqueer people during the remaining portion of the year.
“Dding Dong Pocha,” our monthly program has also been proceeding well. We provide counseling in the streets to directly meet with queer teenagers on the first Saturday of every month. We have recently had more vegan visitors, so we prepared vegan ddukbokki, fruits, and other snacks. We also provided counseling service, tarot card reading, and emergency supplies at “Dding Dong Pocha.”
Lastly, for the empowerment of the Dding Dong office, we participated in the special workshop “2019 Activist Workshop: Nurturing Gender Equality to Empower the Queer Community” organized by the Rainbow Action Against Sexual-Minority Discrimination. We attended the wonderful lectures titled “What is sexuality to queer people?”; “It’s okay between us?!: between difference and violence”; and “When you are a bystander.”
The workshop was truly a gem containing extremely helpful contents, from thought-provoking lectures to interactive sessions to review our own organizational culture and internal power relations. We are going to make the most out of the education we received at this workshop and continue to monitor Dding Dong’s organizational culture.
Hello,this is DDing Dong.
Finally, spring has arrived in Korea. We are sending you newsletter with our appreciation.
Last December and January, we got a steady stream of counseling requests from trans gender teens. We consulted with teens who had psychological difficulties caused by dysphoria and coming out, as well as those who have not received proper information or medical treatment as teenagers, and those who are having difficulties in gender rectification due to their age.
In Fabruary, we had three damage consultations related to being 'outed'. We in DDing Dong have been dealing with this issue constantly, and have actively counseled victimised LGBTQ+ youth to ensure their safety.
In March, as it is back-to-school season in Korea, there were more counseling requests for concerning bullying in school than other LGBTQ+ relate dissues. However, the number of crisis calls for support has increased, and the issues concerning the provision of support are often complicated. We have sought to support teenager sin crisis because of housing in stability mainly due to family violence and neglect.
We are glad todeliver you some good news, too. First,the new office now has more space for teenagers to relax, so there has been a big increase in the number of pre- and post- visiting (NB - I don't undertstand what this means)to the counseling center. In last 3 months, total of 78 LGBTQ+ teenagers visited tothecenter.
Second, DDingdong had advertised for DDingga DDingga. DDingga Ddingga is the name of the group for volunteers who share the values of Ddingdong . Thankfully, lots of people applied this time, and a total of 15 people joined as members of the 5th Ddingga Ddingga.
Regarding the challenge of volunteer straining, we studied and discussed the understanding of the various gender identities / sexual orientations / gender discrimination, education for the prevention of sexual violence / sexual discrimination / sexualabuse, addressing the legitimate concerns for the human rights for youth, and understanding HIV/AIDS.
Recently, we opened for DDing dong pocha as the first Ddingga Ddingga action. We are planing to meet more LGBTQ+ youth through not only pop- up restaurant but also DDingdong restaurant, Rainbow nevigation etc.
#DdingdongPocha is the program which runs on the first Saturday of every month where we directly go out to the streets and meet LGBTQ+ youth. We usually talk and eat together, and if necessary, we provide the items they need or counseling support.
#Rainbow Navigation is a support program for LGBTQ+ teenagers who want to be self reliant. We support them on their paths to be independent. In 2019, we are planing to have programs which can help free transgender youth from the gender binary, find their own true identities, enable their freedom of expression , and maintain a proper life cycle for themselves. We will consistently carry out these programs to ensure their desired gender representation and help them to have a place in their community, with respect and support.)
With globalGiving funding and warm-hearted sponsors, DDingDong is able to do various activities and programs. We really apprieiate your support and ask for your continued interest and love.
Writing this letter With a warm heart. With your help of our global funding sponsors in 2018, we were able to meet 347 sexual minority youth.
We’ve had chance to meet youth with counseling issues including
suicide attempt (30), self-harm(38), mental health(101), interpersonal relationship(44), illness(9), HIV(2), injury(2) drug(2) Prostitution(2), transitions(34), worrying about sex(17), family conflict(85), family neglect(12), coming out(27), conflict with friends(40) conflict with teacher(14), relationship(37), gender identity(38), outing(28), discrimination(30), conversion therapy(3), hate crime(2), cyber bullying(13), domestic violence(32), Peer violence(15) violence of teacher(4), violence(3), dating violence(9), sexual violence(10), run away from home(16), independence(23), unstable housing(4), poverty(12), violation of labor rights(6), career / study (33)
Among them, 44 cases were intervened by our direct support system. including legal counseling and support(12), medical support and accompanying(7), psychological counseling connection and support(20), emergency residence connection(5).
Also we have a regular program called Dingdong restaurant. We invite 10 lgbt+ youth for a meal and various activities including educaional program, craft, and so on.
In addition, we have a counseling program on the street. We’ve held that program 8times total on the first Saturday of every month, and we were able to meet 377 sexual minority youth people .
There is one more program I’d like to introduce to you. It’s called “Rainbow navigation”. This program supports the youth who have left their home or who have plan to leave their home. A total of 11 youths participated in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd sessions in 2017 ~ 2018. In the program, we tried to find ways to share difficulties, and support each others to live well as sexual minority youth.
We will continually work hard to make a shelter where we can provide food and shelter for 24 hours to lgbt+ youth in crisis. Thank you for all your support and love that you have sent. Please keep looking forward to see the better future what we are making together with you!
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