If you’re an LGBTQ youth, being gay and open about your sexuality in some parts of the world may not be easy. We can probably acknowledge that it is easier now than one hundred years ago, though. Since the Gay Liberation Movement, we’ve gotten more and more traction and our voices have become louder. Even though we’ve gained the right to marry those we love, we still face intolerance, discrimination, and inequality. As a member of the LGBTQ community, you have the opportunity to make a difference for those that may struggle with these issues more than others.
Sometimes adventure means hitting the road and hiking the AT, other times, it means exploring your own community and seeing how you can make a difference. As a volunteer for a LGBTQ organization, you can be an advocate for the younger generation, make a difference and make some friends along the way.
You’re probably aware that many young LGBTQers are faced with homelessness, rejection from their families, and suicide. In fact, according to the Trevor Project, queer youth think about suicide three times more often than heterosexual youth and their suicide attempts are five times more likely to result in needing medical treatment. You can help support LGBTQ Youth Organizations by volunteering, you can make a difference for these people.
Even if you have your mind set on another form of volunteering, being an out gay volunteer can make our community more visible. The Peace Corps allows you to volunteer with your spouse and make a difference across the globe and many other organizations would be thankful for the extra hands.
How Can You Help Others?
1. Suicide and Crisis Prevention
One of the amazing aspects of living in the 21st century is that you don’t even need to leave your home to make an impact in our LGBTQ+ community. You can help the Trevor Project, a non-profit that provides crisis and suicide intervention and advocates for our community by sharing stories through their website and reaching out to local groups. Not only do they help prevent suicide and self-harm, but they work with the University of Southern California to research the root causes that lead to suicide.
2. Find a Volunteer Art Studio
Imagine if Keith Herring or Jean-Michel Basquiat hadn’t been able to create the amazing art we know them for? How gray and boring would our world be? So many LGTBQ young people are gifted in the arts and use visual and performance art to express themselves. Getting involved in assisting the young talented people in our community can give those that need an outlet the ability to express their thoughts.
Most cities have organizations that support youth arts and arts in the gay community like Nashville’s Oasis center. Look into your local art scene and ask about any programs that support or promote LGBTQ arts. Don’t miss the opportunity to express your creativity, and inspire others to do so, too.
3. Make and Distribute Meals
Because so many people experience family rejection after coming out, many young gay people end up in dire situations. Some end up living on the streets or not having the means to pay for groceries. If you live in an urban area, you will find organizations that prepare meals for homeless people. These non-profits usually have a street force, too, that goes out beyond the walls and passes out meals to those in need. If you want to share your culinary capabilities, try volunteering in one of these kitchens.
4. Find a Youth Sports League and Coach
Were you a soccer superstar? If so, volunteering as a coach and mentor can help our young people feel more accepted in youth sports. You can even start your own LBGTQ intermural league. As a sports mentor, you can enjoy a little sunshine and the thrill of competition. Be sure to always stay positive.
As a coach or team manager, you can even travel with your team. Look into sports venues and tournaments beyond your city to encourage the spirit of travel and expose your team to life beyond your city boundaries.
5. Work as a Crisis Interventionist
In a perfect world, we would never need crisis interventionists, but the reality is our young people often find themselves in difficult situations. As a LGBTQ interventionist, you can be there to tell them “everything will be ok” when they’re kicked out of their homes or face domestic violence. You can listen to them and help them feel heard and understood and bring them to a safe place where healing and acceptance can begin.
6. Provide Community Education
You’ve probably stopped by a gay outreach tent at a local festival or parade. This is a great way to educate the general public and to reach out to other LGBTQ people. As a community educator, you can make friends and have some fun. If you’re short on time, this is also a great way to give back without having to volunteer 15 or 20 hours per week. Even if you’re not a social butterfly, you may be able to assist by writing for their publication or help make the brochures they distribute.
7. Volunteer at a Shelter
There’s a great need for shelter volunteers. You can bring some light and love into young people’s lives by assisting in the day-to-day at a shelter. Some activities you could assist with include helping young people with their schoolwork, writing resumes, and applying to colleges. You can also help cook meals and teach yoga or art classes. If you want to make a difference, helping in a shelter is a great cause and can make those in need feel hopeful about the future.
Share your tips on how to support LGBTQ Youth Organizations in the comments below
If you’ve considered giving back, now’s the time to start and support LGBTQ Youth Organizations. No matter where you live or who you are, you have the power to make an impact in others’ lives. The first step is to discover what’s happening around you in your city. Reach out to an organization and discover if they’re a good fit for your talents then meet and mentor young people today.