Out Youth has been a part of our family since my younger son came out 10 years ago when he was 12 years old. Our lives would have turned out very differently had Out Youth not been there as a resource for our family. Coming out during a time when being gay was supposed to be a part of a dark secret, a crisis that inevitabley would lead to doom, Out Youth helped create a very different world for us. Out Youth provided my husband and me with information and my son with the acceptance that every child should have. More importantly, Out Youth taught us how to be parents and advocates, and taught my son that he should expect respect and more from school, from the community, and from society. Did it make a difference? Absolutely. My son survived the harrassment, the clinical depression, the self-doubts, and came out of it strong and happy. He is a successful college graduate and teacher now, who plans to make education a liberating endeavor for his students. Now, ten years later, Out Youth as been there for our younger son, who is out to change the world, to make things better for other young people who are marginalized in society for whatever reason. Out Youth has provided him with excellent training through an internship with the Texas Gay Straight Alliance, which is housed at Out Youth, and through membership in the Youth Advisory Council, among many, many other things. I can't imagine Austin without Out Youth.
Outyouth is a wonderful support organization. If there had been something like it when I was the age of these youth, I am CERTAIN that some of the people I went to school with would still be alive today, as they took thier own lives because of harrasment about thier sexuality. Sexual Identity is the #1 cause of teen suicide, and an organization like OutYouth gives trese young people a chance to discover who they really are, and BE who they really are, in an envirionment of support. My one criticism, is that the BOD of OutYouth should be trying to help these kids be good people, who just happen to be GLBTQ, instead of GLBTQ people, who just happen to be good. To "Fearlessly be Yourself" should mean to be yourself without fear, NOT shove your sexual identitiy in everyone's face.
The Out Youth house is such a great environment for anyone to feel comfortable being themselves and meeting other kind, open-minded people. It is a great place to get involved for anyone who wants to support LGBTQ youth!
Out Youth is an extraordinary organization serving LGBTQ youth in Austin and Central Texas. The staff, volunteers and youth are full of creativity, integrity, passion, compassion and purpose! Out Youth has been a long-standing contribution to the lives of GLBT youth and adults and is a fierce advocate for justice for ALL people!