We affirm everyone’s right to love whomever they love, and to make schools safe for all identities, especially LGBTQ youth.

Navigating the teen years and adolescence isn’t easy for anyone, but can be an especially difficult time for students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or are questioning their gender identity or sexual orientation.

YCD provides workshops, resources and events to lift up and support LGBTQ+ youth as they navigate these issues.

Organizations Supporting LGBTQ+ Youth

National Organizations

GLSEN is a national education organization working to ensure safe and inclusive schools for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. GLSEN’s Day of Silence and Ally Week are designed to give students and teachers the tools that they need to move their school to address and help end anti-LGBT bullying. GLSEN also has resources on starting and sustaining a gay-straight alliance in school.

The It Gets Better Project is a nonprofit organization with a mission to uplift, empower, and connect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth around the globe. Growing up isn’t easy, especially when you are trying to affirm and assert your sexual orientation and/or gender identity. It can be a challenging and isolating process – but, the good news is, no one has to do it alone.

The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning youth. If you are a young person in crisis, feeling suicidal, or in need of a safe and judgment-free place to talk, call the TrevorLifeline now at 1-866-488-7386.

Arizona

one•n•ten is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving and assisting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth ages 14 to 24. From weekly discussion groups to fun, social networking events, they create a safe space, mentally and physically, for youth of all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. They also offer resources to promote healthy choices and living.  In addition to their downtown Phoenix location, the group has satellite locations in Glendale, Prescott, Flagstaff, Scottsdale, Mesa and Queen Creek.

Colorado

Beyond supports LGBTQ+ people through their coming out process, especially when coming from a conservative faith community. With compassion that comes from experience, its founder Amber Cantorna strives to help other LGBTQ+ people reconcile their faith with their sexuality. She also desires to create conversations for change among the families, friends, and loved ones of LGBTQ+ people in order to guide them towards a place of full acceptance and inclusion.

The Center on Colfax in Denver has grown to become the largest community center in the Rocky Mountain region, giving voice to Colorado's all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community and playing a pivotal role in statewide initiatives to reduce harassment and discrimination.

Through outreach initiatives, educational programs, and social events, Four Corners Alliance for Diversity serves LGBT community members and their allies in Durango and the surrounding area, from youth to seniors.

Inside/Out Youth Services creates safe space, provides support systems and teaches life skills to LGBTIQ youth in Colorado Springs and the surrounding community. Their programs include support and discussion groups, supervised drop-in recreation center, community outings, leadership development opportunities, sexual health education, suicide prevention education, career and financial skills building, counseling referrals, food pantry, and clothing closet.

Northern Colorado Equality seeks to enhance the well-being of the LGBT+ community in Fort Collins and surrounding areas through activities, programs, services and education.

One Colorado is the state’s leading advocacy organization dedicated to advancing equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Coloradans and their families. The organization also maintains a Gay-Straight Alliance Network to help teens and teachers from GSAs across the state connect and network with one another.

Out Boulder County educates, advocates and provides services, programs and support for Boulder County's LGBT and queer communities. They have several youth groups that serve youth age 11-18 and meet weekly to provide support to one another, and also provide homework and tutoring support by appointment, as well as trainings on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation for classes, businesses and organizations.

The Center provides LGBTQ+ youth with a safe and brave space with Rainbow Alley, in downtown Denver, with youth-led events, counseling, support groups, health services and life skills.

Over the past 25 years, the Southern Colorado Equality Alliance based in Pueblo has organized HIV/AIDS vigils and fundraisers, held debates and informational panels, provided people information on LGBTQ issues, hosted dances and a prom, supported civil unions, celebrated when the Supreme Court affirmed LGBT marriages to be an inalienable right, stood up against anti-gay protests, helped with petition drives, and much more.  The SCEA also organizes Outfront, Pueblo's LGBT youth group for people ages 13-20, including straight allies.

SPLASH creates inclusive, safe, and positive environments for youth in Fort Collins, Greeley, Loveland, Windsor and Estes Park who may be at-risk or need a safe space to be themselves; while providing resources to young people who may be at-risk or feel disenfranchised due to their gender identity, expression or sexual orientation.  SPLASH youth groups are youth-led and consist of weekly meetups and special events that give LGBTQIA+ youth a safe space to join together for learning about the LGBTQIA+ community.

New Mexico

Casa Q, based in Albuquerque, provides safe living options and services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) youth, and allies who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness.

The Coalition for Diné Equality envisions the Navajo Nation as a safe, supportive, and inclusive home for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender & two-spirit community.

Common Bond New Mexico strengthens the LGBTQ community through programs and partnerships that serve at-risk sectors of the LGBTQ population. For more than thirty years, Common Bond’s U-21 Project has provided one of the only places for Albuquerque’s LGBTQ youth to socialize in a safe, welcoming, and affirming environment. Every Friday night, Albuquerque youth under the age of 21, come together to discuss issues and play games in an environment free of bullying or judgment, an environment where every student can express their true self without fear of being teased, mistreated, or physically harmed.

Equality New Mexico works to achieve equality and secure legal protections for LGBTQ people living in New Mexico by sponsoring legislation and coordinating efforts to ensure its passage, lobbying legislators and other policymakers, building coalitions, developing community strength, and empowering individuals in other organizations to engage in the political process.

FOLQ, a community center created by PRIDE Santa Fe, empowers and enhancess the lives of LGBTQIA folqs in and around Santa Fe through creative exploration, support and community.  The center has several youth events and dedicated youth programming as part of its mission.

Identity, Inc! supports the LGBTQ community and allies in Farmington and throughout San Juan County by providing a safe space and opportunity for growth through education.

The Mountain Center (TMC) is a nationally recognized and accredited 501(C)3 educational and therapeutic organization that, since 1979, has been dedicated to promoting personal discovery and social change among youth, families and groups through the use of creative learning experiences in wilderness, community and cultural environments.  In particular, The Mountain Center is host to the New Mexico Gay-Straight Alliance Network, connecting GSA clubs across the state.

Southern New Mexico Pride, based in Las Cruces, provides advocacy and resources for the LGBTQ community and its allies, producing several events throughout the year.

Teen'MPower, based in Albuquerque and run through Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, is a group of LGBTQ+ youth and allies who come together and make memories. They talk about issues that affect all of us, like challenges around being LGBTQ+ in school, what do teens need from allies, or tips and tricks for challenging gender roles and expectations.

The Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico provides support, community, and connection to transgender, gender nonconforming, nonbinary, and gender variant people and their families through advocacy, education, and direct services.

Wyoming

Wyoming Equality strives to achieve equity for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit, and queer Wyomingites by building broad and inclusive communities, shifting the hearts and minds of our neighbors, and achieving policy victories. The group created the Wyoming GSA Network to support, empower and connect LGBTQ+ youth in the state.

YCD Workshops for LGBTQ+ Youth

Below is a sampling of workshops YCD has offered at prior conferences and events for LGBTQ+ youth and their allies. Click on any workshop title to read more about the session, the presenter, and reviews from our participants.

A Forum for LGBTQ Students

A speaker addresses a room of students.

Nadine Bridges and Hope Anderson of Rainbow Alley at The GLBT Community Center of Colorado, will share resources that are available to youth in Colorado. This session will be an informal discussion which will support LGBTQ youth. Allies are welcome to attend, to support, and learn with their LGBTQ peers. No questions will be turned down, all questions are encouraged. “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” ― Audre Lorde

A Forum for LGBTQ+ Students

A speaker addresses a room of students.

This session will be an informal discussion which will support LGBTQ+ youth and address the challenges they face in New Mexico today. Allies are welcome to attend, to support, and learn with their LGBTQ peers.

Community Building for LGBTQ Youth

Two students smile.

Join mental health counselors Adam-Jon Aparicio and Jessie Charbonneau for an interactive session on the LGBTQ youth experience. We’ll discuss questions about queer youth topics such as coming out/being out, individual queer identity vs group queer identity, dating and friendship, choosing a queer friendly college, mental health in the LGBTQ community, etc. Participants will have the opportunity to talk with their fellow queer peers about mental health and wellness issues that are important to them while building community in the Northern Colorado region.

Gender Fluid: Shifting on the Spectrum of Gender Identity and Expression

Looking at the back of a student with dyed hair.

We will provide an overview of the differences among biological sex or sex assigned at birth, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation as well as some common gender-related terminology. Opportunities to engage and consider your own gender development and gender non-conforming experiences will be encouraged. Then, we will focus more specifically on the concept of ‘gender fluid.’ This will include a description of gender fluid, video clip examples of gender-fluid experiences, discussing common areas of difficulty/discrimination, brainstorming ways to make spaces safer for gender-fluid individuals, and practicing the use of gender affirming language.

Hate Crimes? Youth Decide the Verdict

In this workshop lawyers will lead an interactive session on Colorado’s Hate Crimes Statute.  The lawyers will present a case involving criminal hate crimes. At the conclusion of the trial, small discussion groups of students will become “juries” to discuss the issues presented and, with the assistance of an adult facilitator, reach a verdict. The group will also discuss diversity in their community and the value of preventing the spread of racial slurs and hateful actions.

Locker Room Talk

Looking at the back of a student with dyed hair.

What is “locker room talk”?  How can we create a positive culture in the locker room and athletics more broadly for everyone?

Topics will include the importance of language, casual homophobia, bullying, privacy, etc. Students will be provided a toolkit to become ambassadors for a healthy environment in this susceptible school space.

Mental Health and Suicide Prevention for LGBTQ Youth

A speaker addresses a room of students.

Create media (audio or video) together as LGBTQIA+ and allied voices, share about being a leader in our own intersectional queer space and tips on identifying safe adults or allies in your life- specific to suicide prevention. Be a part of a production to be shared with peers, educators, and community leaders for a better understanding of queer identities and mental health.

On the Field and Out of the Closet: LGBTQ+ Athletes Speak

A group stands and poses for the camera.

A panel of LGBTQ+ athletes will participate in a panel/Q&A for attendees, discussing their experiences as closeted/out athletes in high school and college. We’ll discuss how we can support friends, siblings and ourselves in creating an inclusive and affirming experience for everyone in the sports world.

Owning Your Story: A Workshop for LGBTQ+ Students

Students stand around a table writing messages.

“When we deny the story it defines us. When we own the story, we can write a brave ending.”

In this workshop we will take time to celebrate our stories, who we are, where we come from and the shared experience/realities of identifying as LGBTQ+ people. Come to this workshop ready to listen, contribute and support one another. Your story matters!

Preventing Sexual Violence and Supporting Survivors

A student smiles in a group.

This session will explore the power youth have to create spaces where sexually inappropriate or violent behaviors are recognized, and intervention occurs to support survivors. We will use small group activities and discussion to expand recognition of a range of sexually violent behaviors and the impacts of these behaviors, the systems in place to address these behaviors, and identify how youth have opportunities to intervene at all points as positive bystanders. Youth will practice bystander intervention using real life scenarios commonly described by high school students. Youth presenters will encourage participants to think creatively and develop a broad variety of intervention techniques, honoring personalities, identity, and safety. Presenters will create a safe space to facilitate honest, non-judgmental conversations throughout the session.

Queering It Up

Two students smile.

Join SPLASH Youth to queer up our community space. Starting with conversations about ‘being queer enough’, designing safespace activities for others, and moving through to community action that will bring out the queerest of us all. All identities and orientations are welcome.

Self-Love + Body Positivity

We will have a realistic and informative discussion around body image and body positivity for teens and adults. Participants will explore the impact body image has on self-esteem, examine how external factors such as media trends shape how we see ourselves and build awareness to how these trends shape unrealistic expectations. Give yourself permission to drop societal expectations and learn to relate to your body with kindness, improve your self-image, and develop sustainable, positive self-care behaviors with practical wellness tools that promote confidence and self-love.

Sharing Stories of Love, Struggle and Finding Ourselves

A student speaks.

We will use creative brainstorming activities and writing exercises in order to share our stories of love, struggle, and finding ourselves. Through peer support we can grow as writers while growing as a community. All writing levels are welcome and all genres are welcome.

Sports for Everyone

Stereotypes, socioeconomics, and gender equality are all factors that affect our social lives—including sports and athletics. What does acceptance look like in today’s world? We’ll have an engaging discussion on how we all play a role in making athletics and sports inclusive for everyone.

The Intersection of Religion, Family and Sexuality

Amber Cantorna speaks with Rev. Amanda Henderson, the Executive Director of the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado

YCD and the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado presented a workshop exploring the intersection of religion, family and sexuality. We heard from author Amber Cantorna, the daughter of an executive at Focus on the Family and who came out as a lesbian at age 27, about her experience reconciling her sexuality and spirituality, and then had a dynamic group discussion through Q&A.

Transgender 101 and Beyond

How do we talk about gender? It isn’t simple when a transgender or gender non-conforming person expresses their real feelings. This workshop will discuss the gender spectrum through terminology, games, and personal stories. We’ll go from blue to pink and girl to boy and back.

Unpacking Gender

This workshop will challenge your perceptions and understandings of gender through a cisgendered lens. Ideally, you will walk away with new language, how to better implement strategies for inclusion within your spaces and additionally understand how privilege, power and oppression takes place among trans* folxs.