Dropping In To Out! Group
For YouthLink’s community of young people who have experienced homelessness and instability, survival is key. Survival skills may include finding food and warmth, a place to rest, a way to stay out of danger.
For the subset of these young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, or questioning their sexual identity, the instability of homelessness is laden with even more frightening landmines. Survival depends on either masking one’s identity, or avoiding contact with others who may judge them.
That’s where YouthLink’s case manager, Sai Kilp, has been a creative, dedicated, and successful leader, whose role has been to engage young LGBTQ+ visitors at YouthLink’s drop-in center.
“Out! Group, our support group for LGBTQ+ young people, is becoming a strong, inclusive presence at YouthLink. My job has been to help LGBTQ+ young people connect with each other at the Drop-In center, and with the larger community at YouthLink,” says Sai.
“For example, young people who identify as transgender are often confused about how to present themselves to potential employers or landlords. I help them sort through the many obstacles they encounter, and the ones they perceive, to be successful on their journey out of poverty and homelessness.”
Sai adds, “Our gathering spaces at YouthLink have evolved into solid, safe places for our LGBTQ+ drop-ins. More and more young people are interested in working with me, or with other YouthLink resources, to gain stability. Stability means safety, and that’s an Out! Group goal.”
You can break down barriers for LGBTQ+ youth by donating to the Seville Fund, named after Sadie Seville a local community activist, volunteer and drag entertainer. The Seville Fund provides educational support for the unmet needs of YouthLink clients who identify as LGBTQ+. With support of community members like you, Sai and YouthLink staff are able to continue providing a safe space and springboard for young people who face unique obstacles in their quest for stable and productive lives. To donate, visit: https://donate.youthlinkmn.org/YouthLinkMN and put “Seville Fund” in the comments.