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A Safe Space for All

Supporting LGBTQ+ Youth

Friends of Youth is committed to supporting and celebrating youth and young adults of all gender identities and sexual orientations.

Image result for lgbt turkey holiday imageAs many of us look forward to spending time with our    families and loved ones this holiday season, it is worth remembering that for some, this is not an easy time of year. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth experience homelessness at a disproportionally high rate, often due to family dynamics surrounding their LGBTQ identities. For those young people who have been rejected by their families, the holidays can be particularly difficult, making the negative impacts of such rejection much more acute.

Friends of Youth's Rainbow Committee also recognizes that the dominant American culture tends to focus strongly on Christmas and other Christian traditions, and on the colonizing story of Thanksgiving, which can isolate and ignore those who don't celebrate these holidays. Making an effort to learn an individual's traditions and being mindful of our language, actions and assumptions can make for an affirming and inclusive experience for everyone!


For young people who have a challenging time navigating the holiday season, their supports can be on the lookout for changes in behavior: a youth becoming especially withdrawn or isolated, sudden irritability, negative self-talk, changes in appetite and sleep schedule, or difficulty concentrating.


A young person's support team is invaluable this time of year, no matter what the holidays look like for them. Allow space for a youth to talk about their feelings; sad, angry or otherwise. Make a safety plan for the season or for planned visits with family that includes a list  of coping skills and supports to reach out to. Plan fun holiday activities at your program and ask the young people how (or if!) they would like to celebrate.

Project EQTY

In 2014 King County and the Pride Foundation funded the NW Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse to launch Project EQTY. This project, which includes Friends of Youth and four other providers, seeks to identify local resources, strengthen how these resources interact and improve competency in supporting LGBTQ+ young people experiencing homelessness.

Project EQTY was a three year collaborative project that ended in the summer of 2016. It brought up very important issues and its findings have helped Friends of Youth become a better steward of the LGBTQ community.

More information on the EQTY Year Two Report




Important Community Partners

NW Network

True Colors Fund

Pride Foundation