I wanted to take a quick moment to recognize today as International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia. Today was created in 2004 to draw attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexuals, transgender, intersex people, and all other people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics.

“The date of May 17th was specifically chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder and represents a major global annual landmark to draw the attention of decision-makers, the media, the public, corporations, opinion leaders, local authorities to the alarming situations faced by the LGBTQQIA2+. Today is now celebrated in more than 130 counties, including 37 where same-sex relationships and acts are illegal. Thousands of initiatives, big and small, are reported throughout the planet.” – May17.org

I am thankful today for the work that we do here at YouthCare to support our youth and peers who are part of this community. At YouthCare, we have taken many strides forward in celebrating, supporting, and advocating for the LGBTQQIA2+ community including but not limited to: 

  • Opening Isis at Ravenna House in 1998, the first housing program in Washington State to focus on the unique needs of LQBTQ+ youth. Isis—which stands for Independent, Security, Initiative and Success—remains the only LGBTQ-youth focused housing program in the region.
  • Developing and implementing procedures to identify LGBTQQIA2+ youth and young adults experiencing homelessness in our community
  • Adding pronouns to YouthCare email signatures, business cards, and meeting introductions
  • Leading LGBTQ+ policy and procedure development and training across youth service providers
  • Ensuring YouthCare’s health plans and insurance include a rider to offer transgender healthcare and access to gender-affirming surgeries