“We don’t have a place.”
Jade, one of the current Queer Youth Community Organizing (QYCO) interns, is not talking about housing. They’re talking about a safe space where homeless Queer Trans People of Color (QTPOC) can come together to have their voices heard, to create a dialogue, and to share resources.
But let’s take a step back.
Jade, who prefers They/Them pronouns, has been off-and-on homeless since they were 13. It has been a struggle since day one, finding a way to survive on their own, seeking support. Put simply, Jade describes their experience as “a 24 hour hustle.”
Jade first heard about PSKS from other homeless youth. They knew PSKS as the only drop-in center on the hill, and knew especially about the employment opportunities we offer. They originally applied for the QYCO position 2 years ago but stopped pursuing the internship after gaining employment.
Jade’s interest in the QYCO position stems from their passion to do community work, to work for social justice causes. Their current project (held Thursday, March 3rd at PSKS from 5:30-8:30) is an LGBT/QTPOC Homelessness Forum and Resource Fair featuring a presentation, a panel, and then an open forum to increase dialogue. The resource fair will precede the program and will feature 15 organizations that provide support and resources to the LGBT/QTPOC homeless communities.
This project aims to connect different people who are all part of the social justice/service community. Jade hopes that this event will help people have a better understanding of other’s perspective’s, on both sides. Jade points out that people have good intentions and want to help, but can’t if they don’t fully understand the needs of the people they’re serving.
Jade wants service providers to know whether or not their resources are making an impact in the LGBTQ and QTPOC homeless communities. If they’re not making an impact, how can they do better? If they are, how can they expand and reach more people? The dialogue from this event will help answer these questions.
Jade is undoubtedly a leader in the QTPOC community. They want to continue being a voice for those who haven’t found their own, to continue making an impact. They continually face barriers and stigmas. But Jade knows that they can be a role model for those facing situation similar to their own, something Jade never had.
Jade has never seen someone like them working at a business, working at a non-profit. Jade wants to work with other members of the QTPOC community and inspire them to become advocates, to seek the mental health support so often denied, and, most importantly, to create the life they deserve.