Pride at YESS, All Year Round

Happy Pride! Around the world, June is celebrated as Pride Month. This is a time for celebration and reflection for 2SLGBTQIA+ communities and their allies, to be loud and proud about how far we have come and how far we still have to go for equal rights and safety.

To talk about the critical importance of providing safe spaces for youth and their gender expressions and sexual identites, YESS Manager of Quality Assurance, Nicole McMillan, shares the research, experiences, and insights that guide the practices in our programs.


What makes YESS safe space for 2SLGBTQIA+ youth?

YESS strives to create a space where youth can feel confident to explore and embody their gender expression and identity without fear of harm, shame, or judgement. YESS demonstrates a safe space by intentionally asking youth about pronouns used, if they need gender affirming supplies, and creating a culture where all facets of the gender spectrum are accepted and supported. Staff training is nuanced and specific and includes training on the different facets of gender (often referred to as the gender “unicorn”). Youth deadnames (the name that a transgender person was given at birth and no longer uses upon transitioning) are referenced only when legally required. YESS has several processes in place to prevent outing a youth to other services providers. 


Why is it important to provide safe spaces and specific supports for 2SLGBTQIA+ youth? What are the outcomes of providing these supports?

Providing safe spaces and specific supports for 2SLGBTQIA+ youth SAVES LIVES.


From The Trevor Project:

LGBTQ+ young people are more than four times as likely to attempt suicide than their peers (Johns et al., 2019; Johns et al., 2020).

The Trevor Project estimates that more than 1.8 million LGBTQ+ young people (ages 13-24) seriously consider suicide each year in the U.S. — and at least one attempts suicide every 45 seconds.

The Trevor Project’s 2023 U.S. National Survey on the Mental Health of LGBTQ Young People found that 41% of LGBTQ+ young people seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including roughly half of transgender and nonbinary youth.  



What is one thing you wish the community knew about youth who access YESS?

YESS youth are funny, caring, and fully fledged human beings. They’re more than their trauma story.