Today kicks off Pride Month. Joining us this morning is Allie Ambrosio, the case manager for the Youth Gender Affirmation Program of GLYS of Western New York.
Emily says to Allie, there are events centered around Pride Month that are very important to you. Allie Ambrosio says, “As a youth, I truly didn’t have access to any of these sort of Pride events that are really prevalent currently in Western New York. I went to high school in a rather conservative community and at a religious school. So, any representation of LGBTQ+, people in general was sorely lacking and it was really up to finding myself those pockets of comfort and home that allowed myself and my friends to open up about who we are, not to have to hold back any part of our identities and no matter if you have access to Pride events or not. Chosen family is something that I really strongly believe in, and I believe chosen family can get you through anything.”
When asked to explain to the folks at home what is gender affirmation and youth gender affirmation, Allie says, youth gender affirmation specifically is, really to me, about empowering youth to not only be true to themselves, but to just have the right and the freedom to explore. We know that most youth and teenagers go through the normal phases and stages of development, especially in their teenage years where they’re trying on different hats, different styles, different friend groups, whatever it might be, and that is completely normal, and it is just the same when it comes to things like your gender identity and presentation.”
So, for folks who might be looking for the resources where would they go first? What do you tell folks when they ask? Allie says, “We have so many great resources for LGBTQ+ and transgender nonconforming youth, but at GLYS specifically, we are the only agency in Western New York that focuses on the youth population specifically. So, anything that youth or parents or caregivers approach any one of us at GYLS we are truly here to be a one-stop shop to direct people to the services that best suit them and whether that is participating in the Gender Affirmation program or needing some sort of outsider referral that’s beyond our scope of practice we are here to support youth and caregivers and anybody who is willing and dedicated to improving the lives of LFGTQ+ youth.”
For more information go to glyswny.org.