Within the larger LGBTQ+ community, transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming youth are particularly vulnerable. They suffer disproportionately from violence and are more likely to experience homelessness than their non-LGBTQ+ peers. However, there is good news! People and organizations around the world are stepping up to support LGBTQ+ people generally and transgender youth specifically. One such person, Random Acts Projects Manager Miranda Debenham, found a great way to provide much needed support to transgender youth in Sheffield, England.
SAYiT Loud and Proud!
Miranda knew that she wanted to donate chest binders to transgender and non-binary kids, but she was not sure how to effectively distribute them. Chest binders are an undergarment commonly used by transmasculine and non-binary people to compress breast tissue and give the appearance of a flat chest. As Miranda explains, “In general, binders help trans people feel more comfortable in their bodies, helps with dysphoria, and can help people ‘pass’ when out in public. They are essential for trans people, and especially for trans youth experiencing puberty.”
After doing some research, friends of Miranda’s recommended an organization called SAYiT, which provides practical resources for LGBTQ+ youth as well as training for organizations to address issues of discrimination and other structural problems. SAYiT extended useful information to Miranda regarding where to buy binders and what sizes are most frequently requested by their young people. They also coordinated the distribution of the binders to transgender and non-binary youth through their care package program. Oliver Harrap, SAYiT’s office manager, reiterated why this donation of binders is important: “Being able to offer these binders to our young people can give them the confidence to be themselves during these hard times. This donation is helping to transform the lives of LGBTQ+ young people.”
Show Up for LGBTQ+ Youth
If you were moved by Miranda’s act of kindness, here are some ways that you can be kind to LGBTQ+ youth:
- Respect people’s identities, self-chosen labels, and pronouns. You may not know all of the correct terminology right away, but you can take the time to listen and learn.
- Donate to or volunteer with nonprofits that help LGBTQ+ youth in your area.
- Be a mentor. Be there for the LGBTQ+ kids in your life as someone they can lean on and trust.