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The Clubhouse Must Always Be a Home for LGBTQ+ Youth

Safe Space and Artistic Expression Go Hand in Hand

During the month of June, we celebrate Pride Month, and all year round we stand in solidarity with our youth and staff of all sexualities and gender identities. Despite another year in which the traditional public parades and events are not possible, we know that individual Clubhouses are still celebrating their LGBTQ+ youth. We honor the individuals throughout our community—members, mentors, staff, and others—who are part of the LGBTQ+ community and contribute to our Clubhouse community. We see you, and we would not be who we are without you.

We see you, and we would not be who we are without you.

Creating a space that is safe and welcoming to LGBTQ+ youth is paramount. Many LGBTQ+ youth may not be welcome at home or at school and may be subject to bullying and discrimination in those places. They must know that they can bring their true, whole self to The Clubhouse. Around the world, there are still many places where LGBTQ+ identities are criminalized; in the United States and around the world, LGBTQ+ people are subject to legal discrimination and are unprotected from hate crimes. We look forward to the day when LGBTQ+ youth—alongside youth of any marginalized identity—can live their lives honestly, publicly, and free from fear of violence or discrimination. We are grateful to those who have done the work to bring society to where it is today so that we may do this important work.

Building Community Through Podcasting at The Clubhouse @ FARO de Oriente, Mexico City, Mexico

At The Clubhouse @ FARO de Oriente in Mexico City, staff and mentors are empowering youth, helping them to explore their identities. Clubhouse Coordinator Jessica Martínez Álvarez was speaking with Clubhouse mentors about starting a podcast. At the same time, she noticed that her youth members were talking a lot about gender identity, sharing lots of questions and curiosities. Jessica identified the convergence of interests and decided to produce a podcast. Jessica and the mentors just completed their first season of “Mujeres y hombres libres de violencia.” The episodes touch on themes of LGBTQ identities, relationships, sex, friendships, and more.

The podcast has been very well received by youth. “Our members have loved the podcast, we’ve had a very positive reaction,” says Jessica. Members have said they have come to appreciate how their relationships with each other don’t need to fit into existing, culturally accepted norms, and as a result, those relationships have improved. Jessica says, “We have some youth who are openly LGBTQ and they have said specifically that when their friends have heard the podcast, they have developed more empathy.” She also says that because members are home and listening to the podcast at a volume high enough for others to hear, it has sparked conversations and awareness among parents and families. FARO de Oriente members say they will continue this work by doing workshops throughout the summer, learning how to critique the harmful homophobic, transphobic, and misogynistic norms that are so pervasive in the media to which they are exposed.

Jessica says it’s important that youth find their voice on these important topics. As an out lesbian, this work is personal for Jessica. “Young people must have the foundation and knowledge to speak about these issues and their identities in a way that’s impactful for themselves and their community. This is important work for all of society to take on.” This podcasting project is a perfect example of a Clubhouse listening to its members and meeting their needs. The content was recorded by mentors, Charlotte Burgueño, Adrián Ramírez, Karina Castilla, and Marcela Molina, and post-production and publishing were handled by Jessica. We’re so proud of Jessica and everyone at The Clubhouse @ FARO de Oriente for all they are doing to support and empower their members and community!

Artistic Expression at The Flagship Clubhouse, Boston, USA

An illustrated young person has their fist to the sky, wearing a blue pink and white tank top over a rainbow background.
Digital illustration created by Ceres Orchards.

Illustration and design are passions shared by many youth and staff at The Flagship Clubhouse in Boston.

Ceres Orchards has been a member of The Flagship Clubhouse for over 5 years. They created this untitled piece using the Procreate app, a digital illustration software tool made specifically for iPads. Self-expression and powerful technology go hand-in-hand at The Clubhouse.

We are proud to be a space where youth can share their identities and learn new software.

 

Teens Design Pride-Themed Phone Accessories Now Sold in Stores

Teen Tech Center members and PopSocket designers Barsha, Savana, Lilly and Valeria
Teen Tech Center members and PopSocket designers Barsha, Savana, Lilly and Valeria. Photos Courtesy of Best Buy

Youth at several Teen Tech Centers have created designs for PopSockets that are now available for sale from Best Buy. PopSockets are popular decorative accessories that help users hold their phones.

The teens were commissioned and compensated through PopSockets’ standard procedures for freelance designers and had the chance to follow along in the process to see their design evolve from an idea to a product sold by Best Buy.

Half of the sales from each design will be donated to the Best Buy Foundation and reinvested into Best Buy Teen Tech Centers…

Best Buy is a funder of The Clubhouse Network, as well as more than 35 Teen Tech Centers that are members of The Network and share our mission.

 

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We know how important it is for members to express themselves through creative projects and to then see their finished pieces appeal to and resonate with others. We are so proud of these youth and the staff that have supported them. The Clubhouse must always be a place where youth of all backgrounds, especially LGBTQ+ youth, can feel safe to express themselves.