Out Youth selected as a 2016-17 Austin Gives Miles Official Charity

Out Youth is excited to announce that we have been selected as a 2016-17 Austin Gives Miles Official Charity. 

Austin Gives Miles is the Official Charity Program for the Austin Marathon® presented by NXP

Out Youth will raise awareness of our life-changing and life-saving work as well as recruit runners to fundraise on our behalf while they train for the Austin Marathon, set to take place on Feb. 19, 2017. 

Out Youth was one of 26 nonprofits selected out of numerous applications. 

Runners interested in supporting Out Youth’s mission while they train can select Out Youth during their registration process. The runner will be contacted by Kathryn Gonzales, Operations & Programs Director at Out Youth with a welcome email, including more about Out Youth, how Out Youth will support them during their training, and how they can create their Crowdrise fundraising page to begin fundraising.

“Out Youth is ecstatic to be a part of Austin Gives Miles and the 2017 Austin Marathon,” said Aubrey Wilkerson, Executive of Out Youth. “Our goal is to raise $10,000 and continue to raise awareness about Out Youth's mission throughout the running community.”

Entering its fourth year, Austin Give Miles’ fundraising goal for 2017 is $500,000. This year, the Official Charity Program is partnering with CrowdRise as it’s online fundraising platform. CrowdRise is the world’s largest and fastest growing online platform dedicated exclusively to charitable fundraising. 

"We’re glad to have Out Youth involved with Austin Gives Miles ,” said Carly Samuelson, Austin Gives Miles Charity Manager. “They do great work in the Central Texas community and we look forward to them reaching their fundraising goal, helping us reach ours, and raising more awareness about their cause.” 

About the Austin Marathon®: The Austin Marathon® will celebrate its 26th year running in Austin on Feb. 19, 2017. Austin’s flagship running event annually attracts runners from all 50 states and 20+ countries around the world. With start and finish locations just a few blocks apart, and within walking distance of many downtown hotels and restaurants, the Austin Marathon is the perfect running weekend destination. Participants can register on the website and choose to run for their preferred nonprofit.

About NXP Semiconductors: NXP Semiconductors N.V. (NASDAQ:NXPI) enables secure connections and infrastructure for a smarter world, advancing solutions that make lives easier, better, and safer. As the world leader in secure connectivity solutions for embedded applications, NXP is driving innovation in the secure connected vehicle, end-to-end security and privacy, and smart connected solutions markets. Built on more than 60 years of combined experience and expertise, the company has 45,000 employees in more than 35 countries and posted revenue of $6.1 billion in 2015. Find out more at www.nxp.com.

Empowerment in Healthcare - The Q Card and the TGNC Card

No one should have to deal with discrimination in healthcare settings or anywhere else. We at Out Youth and the Central Texas Transgender Health Coalition (CTTHC) believe that all queer and transgender people of all ages deserve quality, sensitive healthcare that meets their needs, recognizes their agency, and empowers them to be active in their health.

We are proud to announce the availability of two resources designed to support queer and transgender individuals with communication in healthcare settings! These two resources, the Q Card and the TGNC Card, are small but mighty. Designed to fit in a wallet, these cards can help facilitate comfortable, productive conversations with medical providers about personal health and wellness.

First a little backstory – The Q Card was developed by Genya Shimkin in 2012. Genya set out to create a simple communication tool that could improve healthcare, specifically for queer youth. Between 2012 and 2013, she developed a sample version of the Q Card, and brought it to interviews with local healthcare providers, educators, youth advocates, and queer and transgender youth themselves. With this feedback, Genya drafted a new version, this time with the help of professional graphic designer Alice Lee and queer-owned printer, Girlie Press.

Check out this video to learn more! 

Learn more at www.qcardproject.com
Videography by Reid Kuennen Funding generously provided by The Pride Foundation

A few years later, in 2015, a research team at The Fenway Institute called The Trans Masculine Sexual Health Collaborative noticed the need for a similar tool to assist transgender and gender non-binary people of all ages during healthcare visits. In collaboration with Genya of the Q Card, designer Alice Lee, and Girlie Press, and with feedback from many community members across the country, the TGNC Card was created.

This card is designed not only to empower people across the spectrum of gender and throughout the entire lifespan, but also to link healthcare providers to educational resources about transgender health. Along with the wallet-sized card, the TGNC Card includes a handout with research-based tips to minimize discomfort during healthcare visits, as well as links to the most affirming and up-to-date resources for providers to educate themselves!

 

Fast forward to today in Central Texas. Out Youth has been a safe space for LGBTQ+ youth for 26 years. What could be a better place to distribute the Q Card?

The Central Texas Transgender Health Coalition (CTTHC) is a brand new program of Out Youth designed to support the health and wellbeing of the transgender and gender non-binary community by facilitating access to quality healthcare resources, and to educate healthcare, mental health, and social services professionals in Central Texas. What could be a better organization to distribute the TGNC Card?

And so, we proudly announce the availability of these two resources, thanks to our allied organizations across the country! We have 500 Q Cards, all the way from Genya in Seattle, free for any youth who requests it. We have 10,000 TGNC Cards, all the way from Fenway Health in Boston, which we will give out during the CTTHC’s 2017 events: an educational conference for healthcare providers and a community health fair to connect transgender and gender non-binary individuals with quality providers. The TGNC Cards and Handouts are also available upon request before those events.

No matter how much work went into their creation, these resources can only empower people when they’re in the hands of those who need them. No one should have to deal with discrimination in healthcare settings or anywhere else. We invite you to help yourself to these resources and to give them a try next time you visit a healthcare provider. 

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2016

Kathryn Gonzales, our Operations and Programs Director delivered a powerfully emotional speech at tonight's Transgender Day of Remembrance.

A full transcript of her speech is available below.

- - -

Hello, my name is Kathryn Gonzales and I am the Operations & Programs Director at Out Youth.
On behalf of the youth, board of directors, and staff of Out Youth, I want to express how humbled and honored we are to support this year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Out Youth was founded in 1990 and has served youth of all sexual orientations and gender identities across Central Texas for 26 years. Out Youth is best known for our free individual and family counseling as well as our free and confidential HIV & STI testing, but what we do best is offer youth a place that they can feel at home, a place of warmth and peace. And, by extension, our youth become part of a family that loves, acknowledges, and accepts them for exactly who they are.

As this night approached again this year, I was reminded yet again of my desperate wish, a hope for a day when there are no names on the list.

Yet each year I arrive and sit here, awash in names and grief.

Certainly, I grieve for the loss of those we honor tonight, taken from us by horrific acts of violence.

But I also find myself grieving for the want of memory.

I grieve because I cannot remember them, for all I have been left with are their names and the reverberating silence of their absence.

I grieve because I will never delight in knowing them, at least in this lifetime. I will never know their kindness, their compassion, the unique and captivating beauty of their souls.

And while I may never meet them, I am certain of my love for them. Each and every one. All of those we have lost in years past, and those we seem all but certain lose in the years to come.

So let this be my vow, that my grief will stand as a testament to their lives, a renewed commitment to end this violence, for as long as I am here I will love them and work in honor of their memory in hopes for a day without names.

Bullying and LGBTQ+ Youth

Youth of all sexual orientations and gender expressions can face verbal and physical harassment throughout their school day. In a 2011 national survey of LGBTQ+ youth, 82% said they had been verbally harassed because of their sexual orientation, 38% were physically harassed, and 18% were physically assaulted. Nearly 64% of students reported feeling unsafe because of their sexual orientation.

Repeated instances of bullying can create an environment that is not conducive to learning or academic success. Research shows that LGBTQ+ students who experience harassment have higher levels of depression and anxiety, as well as increased absenteeism. Some choose to drop out of school entirely.

Fortunately, available research also suggests that school safety is a protective factor for LGBTQ+ youth. School administrators need to assess their school environments to ensure they are fostering a welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ students. All staff should be trained to support LGBTQ+ students, LGBTQ+ history could be incorporated into lesson plans, and safe spaces should be designated throughout the school. Students often report feeling safer when they feel they are protected by teachers, school administrators, and staff. Resources for creating safer school environments for LGBTQ+ youth can be found at:

Further, establishing social organizations such as Gender and Sexuality Alliances (https://gsanetwork.org/) and psycho-educational support groups that expand school-based supports for LGBT youth can have a dramatic impact upon student well-being and academic outcomes.

Out Youth is currently partnering with Communities In Schools of Central Texas to provide such support groups in 5 area schools this fall, with plans to expand into at least 9 schools by the fall of 2017. This aligns with the overall mission of Out Youth to promote the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social well- being of LGBTQ+ youth so that they can openly and safely explore and affirm their identities.

Creating a Circle of Support for Families of Out Youth

Positive parental and familial relationships are crucial for all youth. For LGBTQ+ youth in particular, families can play a critical role in reducing risks and promoting well-being.

Since youth can express a clear sense of gender identity at various ages, there is greater awareness among some families that an adolescent might be transgender. As a result, more parents are seeking accurate information about gender development and sources of support. [1]

The Out Youth Family Circle of Support aims to give parents and caregivers of trans-identified youth a forum for sharing, support and education. Family members gather on Sunday evenings for six weeks to discuss their hopes and concerns, and to receive psycho-education related to gender identity.

The Family Circle of Support is facilitated by mental health clinicians with experience in family therapy in the context of the LGBTQ+ community. Jessica Fish, co-facilitator of the group this Fall, is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin.

Some of the most meaningful moments as a facilitator is seeing how parents, grandparents and other family members grow in their time during group and how they come to better understand and support their youth through that process.
— Jessica Fish, Co-Facilitator of the Family Circle of Support

“It's amazing to see how dedicated these parents are to showing support and affirmation for their youth," said Jessica, a facilitator for the Circle of Support. “Some of the most meaningful moments as a facilitator is seeing how parents, grandparents and other family members grow in their time during group and how they come to better understand and support their youth through that process. We talk a lot about how to be supportive of our youth by affirming their identities, and letting explore who they are at a very important time in their lives.”

“What I found most helpful was to hear the stories of other families and where they were in their journey,” said Pat, a parent who recently attended a Circle of Support meeting. “To hear parents that seemed to be further along in their journey than myself and get their feedback on how they dealt with their child coming out as transgender. Although my child has only been out to me since March of this year, I feel I have come a long way with not only that but with all that a parent of a transgender youth has to go through.” 

In addition to the Family Circle of Support, Out Youth is implementing innovative ways to connect with the families of the youth we serve.

In December, Out Youth plans to host a panel consisting of parents of transgender youth as well as a local medical provider who specializes in hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for transgender clients. This combination of personal experience and professional expertise aims to help parents and guardians feel less alone and leave better informed, so they can best support their child.

The next round of the Family Circle of Support group will start in January of 2017.

For more information about the Family Circle of Support or clinical services at Out Youth, please contact Sarah Kapostasy, Clinical Director, at sarah.kapostasy@outyouth.org.


[1] Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, A Practitioner’s Resource Guide: Helping Families to Support Their LGBT Children. HHS Publication No. PEP14-LGBTKIDS. Rockville, MD: 201