Resources for LGBT Youth of Kansas City
January 5, 2012
by Bradley Osborn
When LGBT youth are in crisis, they may find that widely established community resources are not hospitable to them. Certainly, a homeless LGBT young person who was kicked out of his house for being gay should not be forced into a shelter that is not truly welcoming. But crises,such as suicidal thoughts and actions require immediate intervention, with sensitivity to queer youth.
Many organizations are helping to mitigate discrimination by providing activities, advocacy and camaraderie for LGBT young people. Some of these groups are youth-led and youth-focused, and others are part of some larger institutional framework. Helping a young person to recognize the value of his or her life may even start with an individual acting on a personal ethic to make things better for everyone.
Here is a short list of resources for Kansas City area LGBT youth.
Hotlines & Crisis Intervention
The Trevor Lifeline (part of The Trevor Project)
The Trevor Project provides national outreach. It is a highly trusted resource for LGBTQ youth who are troubled by others or who need crisis intervention. The Trevor Lifeline is its 24/7 suicide-prevention phone line that offers life-saving and life-affirming advice, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Founded by the creators of the 1994 short film Trevor, The Trevor Project website includes many helpful features, such as Ask Trevor and TrevorChat.
If you are feeling down and need to talk or chat, call or log on to Trevor.
Synergy Services, Youth Services
24-hour Youth Crisis Line
816-741-8700 or 888-233-1639
Youth Services at Synergy Services provides emergency shelter and support for local young people in crisis. The Transitional Living Program helps teens in achieve self-sufficiency. Synergy can also help youth maintain good physical and mental health through its Teen Clinic at Synergy’s Youth Resiliency Center. Street Outreach Services (SOS) canvasses greater Kansas City, helping homeless youth. It can provide necessities like food, water, clothing, blankets and hygiene products.
Synergy Services also works with a national program called Safe Place that provides immediate help and supportive resources to youth in crisis. Young people can find safety and assistance immediately at these Safe Place sites in the metro area:
• All area QuikTrip stores
• Kansas City Area Transit Authority buses
• All branches of Kansas City, Mo., Public Library
• All branches of the Mid-Continent Public Library.
If you are homeless or are in need of a safe place to stay, call Synergy or go to a SafePlace.
Local Youth, Focus & Activity
Kansas City Passages
Passages Youth Center provides a hate-free, welcoming environment for all youth ages 14-20. LGBTA young people gather on Wednesdays for dinner and discussion and on Saturdays for movies and dancing in the basement of Trinity United Methodist Church, 620 E. Armour Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.
Empowering Queer Activists and Leaders (EQUAL)
EQUAL is Kansas City’s gay-straight alliance (GSA) network, bringing together area youth from different schools for social, educational and activist endeavors. Activities include Empowerment Summits, National Coming Out Day and the Day of Silence. EQUAL is also the main voice of opposition to local preacher Lou Engle’s ideological export to Uganda — the hatred of gay people and support for their execution.
PerformOUT KC is a local educational outreach performing arts program for LGBTQA young adults, ages 14-20 years. Members perform at events throughout the year. Involvement aims to bring positive self-image, self-exploration and creative growth to members.
Kansas City Leaders Overcoming Violence with Education (KCLOVE), a project of the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project (KCAVP)
KCLOVE extends ant-violence education and awareness to the LGBT youth of Kansas City and provides resources for victims.
LIKE ME Lighthouse Project
Finishing touches are underway at LIKE ME Lighthouse, which is opening at 39th and Main Streets in Kansas City, Mo., this February. It is a brick-and-mortar project of out lesbian country singer Chely Wright’s foundation. On-site resources are set to include information via phone or visits to the center, library and reading room, computer lab, counselor referrals, educational meetings and social events, and short-term and long-term availability of meeting rooms and office space to LGBT organizations.
Collegiate Resource Centers & GSAs
• University of Missouri-Kansas City LGBTQIA Programs and Services (umkc.edu/lgbt)
UMKC Pride Alliance
• University of Kansas LGBT Resource Center (silc.ku.edu/lgbt)
KU Queers and Allies
• Connection at Park University
• William Jewell College SAGE (Straights and Gays for Equality)
• Rockhurst University UNITY
• Avila University SODA (Sexual Orientation Diversity Alliance)
Lesbian & Gay Community Center of Kansas City
Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Greater Kansas City chapter
Missouri Safe Schools Coalition
Families, Faith & Optimism
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians
and Gays of Kansas City
Family Acceptance Project
Local Welcoming Congregations
It Gets Better Project
For More Information
For more extensive lists that include additional local and regional organizations, collegiate GSAs within a 150-mile radius and full Web addresses, go to Camp’s online LGBTQIA Youth Resources (goo.gl/zeAXS) and Youth and Young Adult Links (goo.gl/i202R).