This past week was my very first all-out “gay” event. Together with my boyfriend, I attended the One N 10 Fresh Brunch at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, Arizona. This was a huge step for me as I have only been living authentic for less than a year in public.
Just a short intro to what One N Ten is. My favorite part is that they have a suicide prevention program.
One n ten is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to serving and assisting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. We provide youth with tools to improve self esteem and acceptance of who they are.
The youth we work with range in age from 14 to 24. We create a safe space, mentally and physically, for youth of all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. Our weekly discussion groups cover a wide range of social, educational, health, and community issues. Youth with particular needs have the option to speak with peers or volunteers one-on-one, in a supervised setting. We offer resources for healthy living and making healthy choices, as well as social networking opportunities appropriate for developing leadership skills and having fun.
We are committed to working in collaboration with other valley and national organizations that help teens including, homeless shelters, suicide prevention crisis lines (some by teens for teens), Youth at Risk, Concilio Latino de Salud, Teen Lifeline, Peer Solutions, Gay/Straight Alliances, GLSEN, Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS and the Native American Community Health Center.
I was very scared to attend this event for multiple reasons. 1. I was a bit afraid to meet for the first time a friend of mine who is transgender. 2. I would be surrounded by people who, in my past, I had cast judgment and disgust upon. 3. I would be now included and numbered with “those people.”
1. I met my friend within minutes of arriving. Truth be told, I was more comfortable with them now than I was before the transition. It was beautiful and rewarding.
2. It helped me to heal from my guilt and shame to be there to financially and symbolically support my new chosen family. Mothers were there with daughters, fathers were there with sons, boyfriends were there with boyfriends, girlfriends were there with girlfriends, husbands with wives, boyfriends with girlfriends… on and on. I was a bit nervous but never felt any sort of rejection. Straight and Gay alike, We were all there to support the LGBTQ youth of our beloved City of Phoenix.
3. I was honored to be numbered and included. Something I never achieved in my “straight” life.
Knowing that there is an organization that has created a safe place for teens to be themselves is comforting. Something that I now wish that I had when I was a teen. There is so much that I would and can say. I will however allow this post to be simply about the organization. I look forward to serving with the leadership of this organization in the near future.