In order to end lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth homelessness, LGBTQ youth must be involved in the process. Our True Fellowship program gives young people the opportunity to undertake a six-month project that contributes to our shared mission to end homelessness among LGBTQ youth. Each True Fellow is an LGBTQ-identified young person and has had experiences with homelessness and/or housing instability.
2016 True Fellow Indie Landrum worked with the True Colors Fund to further his understanding of the policy and advocacy side of ending LGBTQ youth homelessness. Indie lives in San Diego, CA with his partner and their two cats, and geeks out over stationary and cartoons. In his own words, here’s what Indie accomplished over the past six months:
My Fellowship project has been to research existing legislation in seven priority states around shelter spaces for transgender youth. These states are: Virginia, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Arizona, and Louisiana. Ultimately, the goal of this work [known as the State Agencies Project] is to expand regulations in all seven states that would create and/or support safe and affirming shelter spaces for transgender youth experiencing homelessness.”
This work has introduced me to the regulatory process in other states. I feel like the work I’ve done before the Fellowship has been very focused in California; it’s been very interesting, and frankly challenging, to work with states I’ve never been to. I’m thankful for all of the knowledge I’ve gained throughout this process, because I know it’s made me into a better advocate. The biggest accomplishment throughout this work has been feeling like what I’m doing is real, and will have a direct impact on, for example, a trans kid in Missouri or Louisiana who is facing discrimination.
The most important thing I’ve learned from the Fellowship is to ask for support when needed and to communicate with my team. I haven’t worked much with folks in other states, and it’s been very important to be in contact with them since time zones and other factors make check-ins difficult. Ultimately, this experience will enable me to teach youth I work with in California about how they can research and change regulation to make actual change in their communities. I also feel like I’ve learned a lot about myself during this process. For example, I now know that I am a strong communicator and that I need to improve my professional writing skills.
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