Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lessons Learned in Holywood

This weekend Joey, Mia and I travelled to Los Angeles to speak with the LGBT young adults staying in the LA Gay and Lesbian Center's shelter.

The facilities are very beautiful, house 24 youth for up to 16 months and an additional 7 emergency beds. Styled a bit like college dorms and following the basic model created by psychologists and social workers (as opposed to Larkin Street Youth Services that operates off the pastoral model of ethics for working with youth) to create a safe, space for a group that seems to be very different from the youth we've meet with in New York and San Francisco.

While they struggle with the same loss of family and issues and hate crimes, these youth seem to also wrestle with the rarely realized dream of making it big as a star in Hollywood.

While the center has some amazing programming and has been able to create some amazing opportunities for individuals to go after their dreams, my favorite example is the trans women from the shelter who were able to become interns on the set of America's Next Top Model. The staff clearly goes above and beyond their job duties in providing support and trauma aware care for these young adults.

My gratitude or these programs means I will refrain from talking about the growth areas I saw her, for fear that it will damage relationships I'm building with these programs or discourage folk from supporting this amazingly vital work.

The lesson I'm left with from Hollywood is the exuding cost of chasing your dreams. The ways bullying of trans individuals continues to be a pervasive part of gay culture, and the damage that secrets and the need to perform straight in order to get work affects lives of the most vulnerable the most of all.

While we were in town, we were able to visit the ONE archive and learn more about Bishop Mikael Itkin. Thanks to everyone at ONE for your help!

Join us next week in Portland!

Location:Hollywood, CA

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