Trans* Youth Channel’s new mission:
As the CEO of Trans* Youth Channel (TYC) this is a vital part of my life and the values I uphold. We’ve Started a six part article series leading up to our #IAmInvisible campaign and it starts with an introduction to the new organization. This is part 1 written by myself.
All out LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, other) individuals at some point in their lives were closeted. This threshold is often depicted as a courageous rite of passage, but for most it’s more the end to an arduous journey where hurdles are many, large, and out of their control. Many people fail to come out and although LGBT+ organizations are a boon for the ‘out’ community and in general, they do little for the invisible community of closeted, stealth, questioning, or under-resourced individuals. Our failure to do so has led to readily apparent atrocities depicting a major gap in the LGBT+ movement’s support methods that Trans* Youth Channel has dedicated itself to alleviate.
It’s a common story on online closet-friendly Trans* forums for someone not to “come out” because they feel it’s impossible due to familial, financial, religious, social, legal, healthcare, and/or personal hurdles bogging them down (we’ll talk about this in part 2). In fact, TYC recently got the okay to share Alex’s post (closeted) from the secret group, the Facebook Transgender Alliance with you;
“Sometimes I feel like starting a transition I may never financially be able to finish, may be harder than staying as [I am] and dealing with it. My dysphoria and hatred for my body is worse more than ever. I wish I could just get this shit done and be happy.”
Coming out as gay can still lead to homelessness and the loss of your entire support network (Walmsely). As a result depression, anxiety, and mental illness have skyrocketed and loss of life has become horribly present. A study of 350 LGB youth in Canada, found that 4 in 10 youth had considered suicide, and 1 in 3 had attempted. Among the latter, 65% of male and 45% of female youth considered their attempt related to sexuality (D’Augelli). The National Transgender Survey reports a staggering 41% of Transgender respondents attempted suicide which increased when broken down by hurdle: job loss due to bias – 55%, those harassed or bullied – 51%, and in low income houses, or victims of assault – 64% (Grant). Many of these cases from invisible people have gone viral such as Leelah Alcorne who committed suicide due to her family’s active prevention of her transition and she joined one of hundreds of youth who took their lives in the same way.
These terrible atrocities are not going ignored however. Organizations in the out community have widely reported these statistics as a strong need for activism in all areas of life and changed a lot of the public policies surrounding these issues with great success, but we – Trans* Youth Channel – feel these efforts are helping only in the long term, and far too late for those already struggling. It’s akin to the coast guard merely setting up a lighthouse to catch people drowning near shore, but not sending out a life-boat to find those drowning in the dark waters. Bodies wash up and the general we consider it an atrocity, but we can do more to help those struggling on their own in the dark open sea, and so, I am proud to announce that Trans* Youth Channel has done just that.
In 2014 we officially changed our mission to specifically support the invisible community and be that lifeboat via 3 programs integral to our mission: our weekly digest, our support group program, and content creation.
The weekly digest first accomplishes a vital task for the community in that it establishes a safe, secure, anonymous, and low-anxiety communication pathway via email, and then allows us to provide invisible community members with the resources, community, and support they need. They simply sign up, and they receive resources directly to their inbox so they don’t have to agonize and risk themselves on the internet.
After attaining stable contact with members of the invisible community with the weekly digest, the support group program is designed to host several safe, secure, and low-anxiety peer-to-peer support groups that closely mimic ‘out’ LGBT+ community’s physical support groups. Our chief goals in this program are to have:
- A comprehensive training made from partner organization’s resources complete with a certification process for all support group facilitators.
- A vetted partner resource database for any situation a group might support, and that is used by others outside TYC.
- Implement further training of additional volunteers & encourage physical support groups in under resourced areas to change the resource map all over the nation.
In addition to these programs directly catered to the invisible community we are seeking to change the conversation about the LGBT+ community using blog and v-logging content in much the same way we did when we were still just a YouTube channel.
The invisible community is a truly incapable demographic in our LGBT+ movement and with all of the people we are unable to reach, Trans* Youth Channel will be the first organization to become a lifeboat, and provide resources far sooner, then the LGBT+ community has been able to do before.
Next week’s blog: Who is the invisible community exactly?
Watch the video version of this article:
*Trans* youth channel’s astrick is an LGBT+ symbol for inclusiveness by recognizing an umbrella of identities.
D’Augelli, A. R., Hershberger, S. L., & Pilkington, N. W. (2001). Suicidality patterns and sexual orientation-related factors among lesbian, gay, and bisexual youths. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior 31 (3), 250-265.
Grant, Jaime M., Lisa A. Mottet, Justin Tanis, Jack Harrison, Jody L. Herman, and Mara Keisling. Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. Washington: National Center for Transgender Equality and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 2011.
Walmsely, Colin. “The Queers Left Behind: How LGBT Assimilation Is Hurting Our Community’s Most Vulnerable.” Huffpost Gay 21 July 2015. Huffpost Gay. Web. 22 July 2015. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/colin-walmsley/the-queers-left-behind-ho_b_7825158.html>.