[Below is an overview of LGBTQ Connection's work. For more on why giving TODAY matters to their multi-generational, cross-cultural movement building, driven by LGBTQ youth, visit their website: http://www.lgbtqconnection.org/news/2017/4/17/give-out-day-thurs-april-20-pride-in-our-youth
Founded in 2011, LGBTQ Connection is the first community-based initiative developing a healthier, more diverse and inclusive community driven by emerging LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning) leaders in Napa and Sonoma counties.
While technically part of the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, the north bay can seem like worlds apart in terms of visibility and community for the LGBTQ people that live, work and go to school here.
➢ An estimated 53,000 LGBTQ people live in Napa and Sonoma counties, most of whom are disconnected or remain in the closet for fear of rejection or for their own safety.
➢ Systems responsible for supporting our vulnerable youth, including schools, foster care, juvenile justice, health care and mental health, are woefully under-resourced and unprepared for when critical LGBTQ situations that arise, and sometimes cause more harm than good.
➢ Many transgender people surveyed report they cannot easily find or access needed health care & understanding.
➢ LGBTQ youth lacking acceptance from their parents/caregivers are 8 TIMES as likely to have attempted suicide.
➢ Almost 90% of LGBT youth report hearing homophobic and anti-LGBTQ slurs frequently on local high school and middle school campuses.
➢ LGBTQ seniors are 5 times less likely to access social services due to fear, isolation & lack of LGBTQ-inclusive outreach.
What started as a support group for LGBTQ youth in Napa in early spring 2010, grew into an initiative serving thousands of people of all ages and growing LGBTQ youth leadership across the region. As both a hub of LGBTQ information and a thriving center of the community, the project increases awareness and visibility.
The four focuses of the program are:
Promoting Leadership: through a community leadership team, community conversations and school and community-focused youth leadership development, LGBTQ representatives identify and prioritize needs and facilitate a community-led response.
Strengthening Underserved People: with LGBTQ events and groups for youth and seniors, and strategies to promote wellness and needed HIV prevention, LGBTQ Connection creates programs and builds community so that LGBTQ people live healthier, more connected lives.
Mobilizing the Community: through training, best practices workshops, action planning, school based activities, family education, and via advocacy and policy work, LGTBQ Connection increases the ability of community organizations, schools, health services, faith communities, government and businesses across the county to welcome and serve LGBTQ people competently.
Cultivating the LGBTQ Hub:
with county-wide awareness campaigns, an LGBTQ event calendar and program directory, a community center, and community-specific events and outreach, LGBTQ Connection serves as the center of the LGBTQ community.
Find more information and our full calendar of events at www.lgbtqconnection.org