A project of GLBT ADVOCACY & YOUTH SERVICES INC
Everyone needs to be accepted and know they are loved. Together we are creating a safer and healthier community for everyone.
Based in Alabama, GLBT Advocacy & Youth Services, Inc. is a unique 501 (c) (3) organization with a dual, integrated mission:
• To ensure the spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being of youth and young adults who are struggling due to issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity.
• To advocate publicly for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community in rural and conservative communities and send a message to youth that someone cares and that they are not alone.
The agency offers several programs and services to the community:
• A community wide anti-bullying campaign in conjunction with other local organizations and individuals.
• Support groups for youth, young adults, and the transgender community.
• The Huntsville Host Home Program to prevent homelessness among youth & young adults. (The National Center on Family Homelessness in its report, America’s Youngest Outcasts 2010, ranked Alabama as the worst state in the nation for homeless youth to live due to the lack of services and support. We know that 20 to 40% of homeless youth identity as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.)
• Public advocacy for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.
• A volunteer program which enlists the help of people from throughout the community.
In order to understand what happens to our youth please read this excerpt from an e-mail we recently received:
"Hi my name is ______. I am 17 years old and I have just been forced to come out to my parents about my sexual orientation. On Sunday my father found out I have been seeing a girl from ______ Alabama he made me give him my phone and unlock it so that he could go through all of my text messages and pictures. He found out about the girl I have been seeing for the last 4 months. When he found out he waited a few days to tell my mom. Then on Monday night he finally told her. She freaked out. She beat me and she told me how disgusting I was and that I would never be welcome in the family ever again. My whole family (brother included who has known for a while that I am gay) turned against me. They told me they would rather have me dead then be with a girl. They also told me I would never be accepted in life. I had no where to go so I decided to leave and never come back. My family took everything away from me, my phone, my computer everything. They told me hey were going to lock me up and never let me out of the house until I was 18 they said they were going to make me go straight. I'm terrified so in the middle of the night I stole my brother’s truck and left I got someone to pick me up and one of my friends brought the truck back. I can't go back there. I got one of my friend’s parents to come and get me ...May 8, 2012
This young lady has spoken with me and she is safely at a friend's house for now.
Since this organization was formed our community has received an unprecedented amount of positive media exposure through over 20 local TV news interviews and articles in the Huntsville Times, Out on the Town magazine, Out and About magazine, NOISE magazine, the New Civil Rights Movement online, the New York Times Coming Out project online and many others. Through this work the agency has elevated the profile and understanding of the needs of GLBT youth living in rural communities across the country. Your financial support is needed if we are to continue making progress toward our goal of creating a safe and healthy community for everyone. This agency has proven for over 2 1/2 years that it is dedicated to the interests of our community.
James Robinson is the founder and executive director. He is an activist who speaks publicly in support of the GLBTQ community across Alabama. He has been recognized as an individual who is transforming his community in the 2011 Launch Pad contest sponsored by Civic Ventures. He has also been recognized for his work to prevent violence against GLBTQ people as the 2012 recipient of the Billy Jack Gaither Humanitarian Award.