MGLCC Expands Efforts to Help Troubled Gay Youth

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Over the holidays, an anonymous donor gave the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center (MGLCC) a very generous gift — $50,000 to put toward their efforts to help LGBT teens and young adults in need of financial, medical, psychological, and legal support.

The center's Youth Empowerment Services (YES) program has been overwhelmed since its inception. Volunteers and staff have actually paid money from their own pockets to help gay youth in need. According to an MGLCC statement, the number of displaced or homeless gay young adults in the program grew sharply last year.

The donated funds will be used to connect LGBT youth with food, temporary or transitional housing, legal advocacy, medical aid, and more. Some of the money will help MGLCC re-stock its emergency food pantry and clothes closet and hire another staffer at the center to oversee the YES program.

“The suicide rate among gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender teens is two to three times that of heterosexual youth,” says Batts. “The rates of homeless youth are much higher as well. We can’t continue to let that happen in our community. In the past few months, we have barely been able to keep up with the number of kids who need our help. We haven’t had the resources or the staff to provide for all of these kids. Thankfully, this grant will provide the next steps in ensuring a better future for all youth in need of our services. “

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