This time of year, we would normally be gathering together at Zingerman’s Greyline for our annual Home Sweet Home event to celebrate the work Ozone House’s staff and volunteers do to support LGBTQ+ youth in our community. All proceeds from that event go to our Kicked Out Fund for LGBTQ+ youth services. While we aren’t having Home Sweet Home right now, please stay tuned for future virtual and in-person gatherings to support LGBTQ+ youth.
This past year has been full of changes and challenges. Our weekly youth PrideZone meetings now happen over zoom. Our 24 Hour Crisis Line was operating out of our staff and volunteers’ homes. The outdoor porch at our Drop-In Center has become a hub for distributing basic needs supplies and masks to young people and community members.
On top of changes and challenges, there have been victories too. 66,000 people messaged the department of Housing and Urban Development to stop an Anit-Trans shelter rule that would have allowed for discrimination against transgender youth and adults at homeless shelters. This advocacy stopped the rule from taking affect before the start of the new administration. Right here in our community, Washtenaw County has decriminalized sex work. Ann Arbor overwhelmingly said yes to building 1,500+ new affordable housing units.
Even with these successes, we know that many LGBTQ+ youth are hurting right now. According to the Trevor Project’s 2020 survey “40% of LGBTQ+ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past 12 months, with more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth having seriously considered suicide.” Ozone House will continue to support these young people, whether it’s through our weekly PrideZone meetings, or a volunteer answering a call on our Crisis Line, or a case manager bringing groceries to someone’s door, we will continue to show up for young people.
Download a free LGBTQ+ coloring book for yourself or to give to someone you love this Valentine’s Day from Dr. Ron Holt