Stonewall staff and volunteers with Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, a community leader for trans rights. She serves as the Executive Director for the Transgender Gender Variant Intersex Justice Project, which aims to assist transgender persons who are disproportionately incarcerated. Miss Major has participated in activism for a wide range of causes throughout her lifetime, including the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City.
About Stonewall Youth
Founded in 1991, Stonewall Youth is an organization of youth, activists and allies that empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual youth to speak for themselves, educate their communities, and support each other.
Stonewall Youth's work is rooted in social justice and anti-oppression values. We address the root causes of oppression while providing access to services and activities that alleviate the stresses of marginalization and assist youth to survive, thrive, and to build sustainable lives.
We serve youth ages 21 and under. Youth are currently leading an expansion of programming for youth up to age 26. The majority of Stonewall Youth participants are from rural and urban Thurston County and we also serve rural Mason and Lewis counties. Approximately 400 youth access our programs each year.
SY was founded 26 years ago by local LGBTQ+ youth and adult allies to address struggles facing LGBTQ+ youth: a high rate of bullying, violence, homelessness, suicide ideation and suicide, isolation, discrimination, domestic violence, substance abuse, unaddressed mental health struggles, vulnerability to HIV/AIDS, and immense struggles at home, at school, at work, and in the community. Although some legal rights for LGBTQ+ people have advanced, LGBTQ+ youth continue to face the same struggles at much higher rates than their non-LGBTQ+ peers.
Stonewall Youth provides an array of programs, services and opportunities:
Youth Leadership and Organizing. Stonewall Youth is committed to building the capacity for youth organizing and leadership by providing the training, resources, and support necessary for youth to maximize their leadership and power within Stonewall Youth and to be effective activists and community organizers for issues of importance to them.
We do these by ensuring that youth are in positions of power and are at the center of all decision-making. Stonewall Youth is operated by a staff collective of five co-directors. Three of the five Co-directors are youth, as are about half of our Board members. We’ve provided internships to over 55 college students (primarily youth) in the last 25 years, and now have paid Fellowships for high-school age youth. We also offer paid positions to youth to be members of our Speakers Bureau Collective. Stonewall Youth is youth-led, adult supported, and is committed to providing paid professional development opportunities for youth.
Peer Support Groups: This is a time for participants to discuss their experiences, successes and struggles. Participants provide support to each other, learn from each other, and build community.
Along with our weekly LGBTQ+ support group, we have hosted other groups such as a support group for Queer and Trans People of Color. This year we will start a support group for younger trans and gender non-conforming youth, and a group for youth ages 18-26.
Drop-in hours : At drop-ins , youth hang out, check in with each other, make friends, and relax. Activities include art projects, games, movies, field trips, Youth Council, a filmmaking club, and workshops on a wide range of topics like zine-making, safer sex, queer history, self-care, and community organizing. Drop-ins happen three days each week in the afternoons and evenings.
Mentorship and Referrals: We provide the support that youth may need to identify and address the obstacles and opportunities they may face at home, in school, at work, and in their community.
Glitter Camp : Twice a year, youth lead a 3-day overnight retreat at a camp in a rural area. Youth, staff, and volunteers join together for collaborative organizational planning activities focused on the short- and long-term work of Stonewall.
Speaker’s Bureau Collective: Youth present workshops at schools, community organizations, social service and law enforcement agencies, as well as public events. They receive stipends for their work.
Stonewall Activism Saturday School (SASS): SASS is a quarterly workshop for youth organized by the Speakers Bureau Collective that supports LGBTQ+ youth and allies to exchange skills to become more effective activists and stand in solidarity with the movements that surround us.
Music & Art Programs, Shows, and Performances : We have ongoing art, music, spoken word and other creative workshops for youth each year, with many opportunities for youth to perform for each other and their community.
Safe & Sober Social Events: We have three annual dances (Queer Prom, Homo-Coming, and Pride Dance), and several other activities. We’re in the process of expanding our offerings to six dances/open mics each year.