WAYOUT LOS ANGELES
wayOUT Los Angeles was founded in 2019 as the third local chapter in the wayOUT family. With chapter members from an incredibly diverse background, wayOUT LA has become a family to each other while staking a claim in the Los Angeles LGBTQ+ community.
It may be LaLaLand, but this group has their feet firmly on the ground and is ready to fundraise again this year.
ABOUT wayOUT LOS ANGELES
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Choosing Our Roots provides participants with more than just shelter: COR assists queer youth and young adults, ages 13 to 24, by building supportive, long-term relationships with volunteer Host Home families and community members.
In addition to providing safe homes and bringing together new families, COR coordinates with community partners to provide wrap-around services and build a network of support for its participants.
COR is currently offering services in communities throughout the Kenai Peninsula, the MatSu Bourough and Anchorage areas; however, COR’s strategic vision includes expansion to hub communities throughout Alaska so that all queer, Alaskan youth can have the supportive relationships and communities they need to thrive.
The next generation of Alaska’s queer leaders can already be found on COR’s Board of Directors and in its steering committees.
COR leads with the principles of Dignity & Respect, Empowerment, Cultural Relevancy, Community, & Hope.
WAYOUT LA X CHOOSING OUR ROOTS
wayOUT LOS ANGELES PROUDLY THANKS OUR 2021 SPONSORS
MEET OUR CHAPTER
As a queer woman of color, whose had the privilege to navigate through higher education and corporate America, I understand what it can feel like to not have access. I want to make sure I share my privilege with others. At wayOUT, I want to use my privilege, network, and resources to help LGBTQ+ individuals that live in more conservative areas with less resources.
More Americans are becoming accepting of LGBTQIA individuals, but this is not true for everyone across the country. I joined wayOUT so that queer youth, wherever they may be, are able to access a safe community for support and to shine their true colors.
As a gay, Black man, I've often felt like the odds were against me. But I was lucky enough to come from an extremely supportive family and community that helped me get to where I am today. Not everyone has those same opportunities, so now it's my turn to pay it forward.
Richard H. Gadsden
While coming out can be difficult for any young person, it can be especially problematic for people of color or those residing in less accepting communities. This leaves many LGBTQ+ youth feeling isolated and without a voice. I joined wayOUT so that I can help ensure LGBTQ+ youth of all colors feel safe, loved, and accepted, regardless of where they may live.
I’ve been very fortunate to have spent my entire life in big cities with LGBTQ+ resources, where I was able to see people out, happy, and thriving. However, I grew up in a pretty conservative bubble and know what it’s like to feel like that world is unattainable. Unfortunately, that’s a reality for so many LGBTQ+ people across America and I want to help bring about the change that can offer the safety and support that their community, especially the youth, needs.
Coming out for me was a personal experience I was lucky enough to do in Massachusetts just before gay marriage was legalized. Even in a relatively safe space I struggled with coming out and accepting my identity. Now we need to work until everyone can feel safe being who they are.
Growing up gay in the Midwest and moving far away from home with the military, I’ve realized the importance of finding community. I’m honored to be a part of wayOUT and work to help LGBTQ+ youth find their own community and define their own success.
Not being fully accepted by one's family in your youth can be very challenging and traumatizing, it was for me. I now have the privilege of living in a community full of love and acceptance, but still recognize that not everyone has that blessing. I knew I wanted to get involved with wayOUT if only to help at least one kid feel love and supported. After all, we all need love.
From a very young age I knew I was different than the rest of my peers. Thankfully, coming from a small liberal town in Massachusetts and seeing other confident gay men living their out lives, I was able to come out to my friends and family without any retaliation or problems; I knew that I was very fortunate. I've seen first hand multiple people in my life that were bullied and disowned just for trying to live their authentic lives and I know that part of my own privilege is to give back to my own community.
I feel incredibly lucky to be a small part of an organization that works with groundbreaking LGBTQ+ heroes all over the country. Our LGBTQ+ youth deserve better and I'm hopeful that we can all come together to create a more empathetic and accepting society.
It took years for me to feel comfortable with my identity and to live in my truth. wayOUT allows me to reach back and lift as I climb, and to provide support to those who need it.