Many lgbtq+ children, teens and adults are excluded and not supported in on the Southside and Southwest suburbs of Chicago. Made up of diverse neighborhoods, little towns, and close knit communities, these communities have a prevalent culture of hard work ethic and tradition. Many teens attend private schools. Intolerance and ignorance toward these students is prevalent. Because of this they face more reproachful social pressure, isolation, and higher rates of suicide.
Our goal is to create a more accessible, open, positive space where lgbtq+ teens can feel socially connected, build confidence, and develop tools for a successful life. We offer an affirming community for our youth as they are transitioning from adolescence into adulthood.
We are continually impressed by what they choose to speak about: their stories, what is important to them, their fears, their hopes, their aspirations and talents, and their deepest wonderings. The incredible diversity and uniqueness of our members reminds us of all the love and irrevocable resilience among lgbtq+ teens in our community and beyond. They have created their own sense of community, engaged and invested in art projects and conversation, offering encouragement and reassurance generously, while constantly educating us and one another.
On June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court affirmed that no one should be condemned to love in loneliness. A major outcome in gay rights, we celebrate a long-awaited shift to a culture of inclusion and the belief that love is love. In the spirit of this recent decision, today can give us hope that real change is possible in minds, hearts, and laws. I believe that this is our moment to reach out and join together, stronger united than we could ever be alone. Change has been possible in the law, but is still needed on a local, everyday level.