By Relle Goan | North County Update
Realizing I had a future and was not alone
Five years ago, I started going to the North County LGBTQ Resource Center. Shortly after I came out, I found my home at the Center within the Our Circle group, a queer youth group that meets every Thursday night. After seeing how wonderful it could be to meet other LGBT youths, I realized I was not alone. It was like putting on glasses for the first time. I could finally see clearly that there could be a happy future for me.
Seeing examples of successful, and more importantly, happy LGBT adults, they became my role models. Getting more involved at the Center made me passionate about supporting my peers.
After starting to attend the Thursday night youth group, I simultaneously started getting involved with Project Youth. This was an outlet for me to be able to work with not only my school, but many other schools across San Diego County. From there, I got to know other youth and other Gay Straight Alliances (GSA). It helped us all grow our leadership skills through positive networking.
Together the GSAs in North County would collaborate, creating big events with multiple high school GSAs. We led events such as: Trans/Gender Nonconforming Clothing Drive, Halloween Movie Night Party, and the Winter Bonfire and Pre-Pride Beach Party. With each event, a different GSA was assigned to a different leadership role, which helped the youth take part in events larger than just getting involved in their individual schools.
Project Youth lends support to school GSAs and provides a wealth of resources and events at the Center. It functions as an outlet for youth to grow leadership skills in a safe space, offering them the ability to let their guards down and be themselves. Youth, who may not always feel safe at their schools or homes, can come to the Thursday night youth group or any of our other events and enjoy themselves. We often hear stories of youth who have difficult home situations or come from schools where they feel constant negativity concerning the LGBT community, so when they come to the events or groups, it makes them feel free and gives them the resources that they need.
Everyone deserves a safe space and Project Youth delivers. Project Youth puts on the Trans Youth Salon, Queer Prom, Youth Leadership Summit, Safe Sex for Inclusive Sex, Queer Surf and Beach Hangout, Queer Scavenger Hunt, Gays on Ice, Queer Clubhouse Check-In, Queers at the Movies, and more events. We consistently receive positive feedback regarding the supportive community at Project Youth. To say that I am grateful for the Project Youth community would be an understatement. It has been an incredible benefit to me and to the entire LGBT youth community. North County is indeed fortunate to have such an active, supportive Project Youth group.
— Relle Goan is the Project Youth event coordinator for the North County LGBTQ Resource Center
— Max Disposti is a human rights activist, a community organizer and the founder and executive director of the North County LGBTQ Resource Center. He is currently also serving on the boards of the Oceanside City Library and Main Street Oceanside and previously served on the city’s Community Relations Commission. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.