Being a teenager is tough. You’re dealing with puberty and hormones; pressure from school, peers and parents, plus self-consciousness exacerbated by social media.
Now, consider being an LGBTQ+ teenager. All of the normal anxiety plus the risk of being marginalized, ostracized or outright unwelcome.
Exactly what Pharus Jonathan Young, the central character in the DCPA Theatre Company’s upcoming production of Choir Boy, is faced with when his leadership of the legendary Charles R. Drew Prep School choir is called into question because of his sexuality.
But for LGBTQ+ teens in our community, this isn’t a play. This is real life and it isn’t always easy.
Fortunately, there are amazing support opportunities right here in our community, most notably The Center on Colfax. Since 1976, The Center has played a pivotal role in statewide initiatives to reduce harassment and discrimination.
As part of its programming, The Center created Rainbow Alley, a program specifically designed for youth that provides events and activities, counseling and support groups, health services and life skills. As a matter of fact, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts is a frequent partner of the Rainbow Alley program including last summer’s original production of One Heart, United, which was written and performed by youth ages 11-21.
Additionally, “Rainbow Alley offers regular group meetings, peer-to-peer connections and drop in space,” according to Rex Fuller, CEO of The Center. The support groups are considerable. Nearly every weekday, groups are gathering to offer support in areas as wide ranging as healing from religious trauma, alcohol abuse and coming out to specific support for Nonbinary individuals, Trans Women and Trans Men.
Rainbow Alley also provides a haven for youth during their summer break. According to Fuller, Summer Academy offers youth the opportunity to meet with LGBTQ professionals for career exploration. Students visit various cultural organizations to explore careers in the arts, hear from area leaders about LGBTQ+ history and participate in visual and performing arts.
The Center also offers an exhaustive resource list of LGBTQ-serving organizations for all ages. From critical resources on finances, housing, mental health and medical needs to fitness, event planning and nightlife, The Center is a life-saving resource for individuals in our community.
Fuller shared a comprehensive list of youth-specific services in our area. If you or someone you know needs assistance, please visit The Center or any of these organizations:
303.331.7733 • TAF.firstname.lastname@example.org
A volunteer organization whose sole focus is to give back to the LGBTQ+ community of Colorado.
Free sexual health information for youth
LGBTQ+ resources to prevent child abuse and neglect and the need for foster and adoptive families.
303-602-5699 • LGBTadmin@dhha.org
Medical professionals who provide high quality, welcoming healthcare for all including LGBTQ+ patients.
720.382.5900 • info@TheDenverElement.org
Programs intended to enrich the world we live in, creating a healthier, more empowered community.
Support, education, and empowerment of Colorado’s LGBTQ+ community who are living with a mental health and/or substance use disorder.
Dedicated to the wellness of Indigenous Chicanx Latinx Lesbian Gay Bi Queer Trans Two-Spirit young people and their families in Colorado.
A safe, non-judgmental, anti-racist, visible space and community for Lesbian, Gay, Two Spirit, Transgender, Bisexual, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual (LG2TBQIA+) youth, families and allies in Southwest Colorado.
IOYS builds access, equity, and power with LGBTQ+ young people, through leadership, advocacy, community-building, education, and peer support.
Dedicated to promoting the hope and joy of LGBTQIA2+ youth through comprehensive mental health and wellness services.
NXT creates a safe environment for queer and transgender youth to foster healthy relationships, express themselves authentically, develop support systems, build community, and advocate for themselves.
Boulder and Longmont
OASOS stands for Open and Affirming Sexual Orientation and gender identity Support.
The Colorado Gender & Sexuality Alliance Network has developed resources for students leading GSAs across the state.
Programming that strives to help youth thrive and flourish in their personal lives and in the broader community, now and in the future.
Support for families, allies and people who are LGBTQ+; education about the unique issues and challenges facing people who are LGBTQ+, and advocacy to change attitudes and create policies and laws that achieve full equality for people who are LGBTQ+.
Queer-informed counseling services, educational trainings, and community programming.
Inclusive Youth Groups, Special Events, Resources, Connections and more.
Gender-affirming individual and group counseling for trans individuals over 18.
Support along the journey of gender identity or gender expression.
Support of all gender expansive youth through peer support to parents and caregivers and social support for gender-awesome kiddos and their siblings.
Serving youth experiencing homelessness in Denver and Colorado Springs
Financial grants and resources for Colorado’s LGBTQIA+ individuals.
A grassroots movement of students and educators organizing, educating, and taking action for inclusion and social justice.
Support for the social and emotional well-being of LGBTQI youth and their families in all communities.