Guide aids LGBT youth

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund and Time Out Youth Center (TOY) have partnered with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to create “On Our Own: A Survival Guide for Independent LGBTQ Youth.”

youthsurvivalguideThe innovative guide is for LGBT youth facing the prospect of living on their own after leaving unsupportive or abusive homes, or aging out of foster care.

“On Our Own: A Survival Guide for Independent LGBTQ Youth” is geared toward older teens and young adults forced to fend for themselves, typically without parental support and often lacking the skills or resources needed to live safely and begin building a successful life. The guide provides practical advice on essential topics ranging from finding housing, going to school and opening a bank account, to getting a job, accessing healthcare and living on a budget.

“As we work toward a more equal world for LGBTQ people, we know that our youth remain vulnerable, particularly when they are rejected by their families simply because of who they are,” said Mary Beth Maxwell, HRC senior vice president for programs, research, and training. “The distressing reality is that far too many LGBTQ young people are forced to fend for themselves, and struggle daily to find housing, food, and other basic resources.”

“As the mother of a teenager, I’m constantly reminded of how important it is for young people to have help and guidance as they transition to adulthood,” Maxwell said. “We were honored to partner with True Colors and Time Out Youth to provide this practical roadmap for LGBTQ youth looking to independently establish stability and security in their lives.”

Across the country, LGBTQ youth are particularly vulnerable to homelessness. Research shows that of the nearly two million young people affected by homelessness each year, up to 40 percent identify as LGBT — even though they make up only five to 10 percent of the overall youth population. Many homeless LGBT young people have said they have been rejected by their families. They also often face harassment or discrimination when attempting to access shelters and other services. The new guide highlights many LGBT-friendly service providers.

LGBT youth are also over-represented in the foster home system, where they face unique challenges because of their identities, and often age out without the support necessary to live successfully on their own.

“LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness may not know how to navigate certain situations, like opening a bank account, accessing healthcare, or locating food — and they may not have anyone to ask for guidance,” said Jama Shelton, deputy executive director of True Colors Fund. “‘On Our Own’ provides the information and resources these young people need to thrive.”

“So many of our youth become independent at an early age and do not know where to turn for help or have the basic skills to survive on their own,” said TOY Executive Director Rodney S. Tucker. “We hope this guide will answer some of their big questions and get them on the path to stability.”

More information on LGBT youth, including issues of homelessness and foster care, is available online.


Diversity meeting slated

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The National Diversity Council Carolinas will hold a diversity best practices meeting on July 14, 8 a.m.-12 p.m., at Charlotte Community Relations, 600 E. Trade St.

The purpose of the meeting is to promote the importance of diversity and inclusion efforts in the workplace. Two speakers will discuss the diversity and inclusion programs that they have implemented within their organizations; those that have been successful; those that have faced challenges and obstacles; and more.

Those who attend will receive HR Certification Institute credits.

Sponsors are Charlotte Community Relations and Carolinas HealthCare System.

Cost is $49/individual and $25/student. Registration is available online.

Council corporate partners and individual members can register for free. Email Dejoron Thorpe at dejoron.thorpe@nationaldiversity to RSVP for the event.


Tennis tourney upcoming

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Queen City Tennis Club will host its 11th annual Carolina Cup tournament with the Triangle Tennis Club on June 25 at Park Road Park’s tennis courts, 6220 Park Rd.

The tourney is a yearly intra-state tennis tournament between the two clubs, consisting of several singles/doubles matches at various skill levels.

It is not only meant to foster relations between the state’s two organized Gay and Lesbian Tennis Alliance clubs, but it also raises money for charity, as the losing club must make a donation to the winning club’s charity of choice.

The matchup began in 2005 and has continued annually with each club rotating host responsibilities.

The tournament is open to the public. It has traditionally gained support from the tennis playing LGBT community in the Charlotte Metro area.

For starting times, email


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Does your organization or special interest group have events or great information to share with our readers? If so, be sure to send in your information to In the upcoming months, we’ll feature one of you in our news notes section in each issue. Are you a part of a Meetup, Yahoo or Google group and do you do something that’s really newsworthy? Do you provide a service for the community or hold fundraisers for worthy causes? Do you educate the public about LGBT issues or concerns? Of course, this is only a sampling of things we are interested in. It’s the aim of these pieces to inform, enlighten and educate our readers about what we’re doing here in the Carolinas to champion LGBT rights, as well as offer resources for those who may be interested in what your group is doing.

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.