Organizational Ally to Queer Youth – Awardee
Dignity Health Dominican Hospital
Dignity Health Dominican Hospital is committed to addressing health disparities between the general population and queer and trans* people. A major step in this process was educating medical personnel in hospital and outpatient settings about the transgender community. The hospital collaborated with the Diversity Center to bring Dr. Jennifer Hastings, an expert in the field of transgender health, to train more than 200 Dignity Health and Palo Alto Medical Foundation medical staff on trans* health issues. Though not every provider has been trained, this training has kicked off a cultural change at Dominican Hospital. Many health care providers are now educated on how to work with trans* patients, and how to honor the identities and the lives of trans patients. There is a shortage of medical staff who know how to work with trans* patients, which makes this work even more necessary. Training healthcare professionals means that trans* and queer people accessing any kind of medical care will now be treated with more dignity, respect, and compassion.
Organizational Ally to Queer Youth – Nominees
Cypress Charter High School Queer-Straight Alliance (QSA)
The Cypress Charter High School QSA is committed to community education and activism. This organization has educated parents, staff, and students about gender and sexual diversity and how important safe spaces are to trans*, queer, and gender nonconforming youth. They also work directly with and for these students to help them in their daily lives. They have sponsored a clothing swap for gender non-conforming youth to exchange clothes, and pushing for gender neutral bathrooms and more awareness of how important chosen pronouns are to the people who choose them. They collaborate with other campus organizations to create safe spaces and support students’ mental health by hosting suicide awareness workshops. Students are directly involved in creating and running these projects. For example, students arranged a parent information session for the March Parents’ Night, and raised money to buy a button maker to make buttons that raise awareness of personal gender pronouns.
PFLAG Santa Cruz County
PFLAG (Parents, Family, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) provides support, education, and advocacy for the LGBTQIQ community, their family, and friends. PFLAG works with Santa Cruz County families of LGBTQIQ people to encourage acceptance and love, as well as to provide support. PFLAG has teamed up with the STRANGE Project to hold coffee meetups for the parents of the youth during their events. At community events like Santa Cruz Pride, The SF Gay Men’s Chorus Holiday Event, and QYLA, PFLAG is there tabling, providing support and resources to parents, grandparents, and families of queer youth. Support from PFLAG helps families do a better job at accepting and supporting their LGBTQIQ children. Expect to see more of PFLAG in coming years. PFLAG recently won a Community Foundation Grant, which will help them increase community outreach and support to more LGBTQIQ families and youth.