Our Space is a vibrant safe space for LGBTQIA+ youth ages 13-24 in Alameda County. As the only LGBTQIA+ provider in South Alameda County, Our Space serves over 400 queer and trans youth each year, with a focus on disconnected LGBTQIA+ youth in the foster system that are at high risk of further isolation and possible homelessness because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression (SOGIE). Approximately 75% of Our Space members are youth of color.
For many young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and/or questioning, it can feel like no place is safe. LGBTQIA+ young people experience significantly higher rates of harassment and abuse – as well as poverty, homelessness, and involvement in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems – than their straight peers. Our Space provides that much-needed safe harbor where LGBTQIA+ youth can express their authentic selves and feel seen, accepted, and celebrated.
Comprehensive services for youth include:
- peer support groups in schools
- community-based mental health and case management
- intergenerational community building activities
- paid youth leadership opportunities,
- as well as a community center with drop-in hours and a gender affirming clothing closet and food pantry.
Our Space also offers specialized support services for adult caregivers and families, as well as trainings for providers from schools, clinics, and other service providers working with LGBTQIA+ youth. The workshops for professionals deepen their understanding of LGBTQIA+ youth challenges and increase their effectiveness in addressing those issues.
At its heart, Our Space is working to create a world where LGBTQIA+ youth are empowered to show fierce love for themselves and their community.
To learn more about Our Space or engage with our community:
- Watch a video produced by Our Space about their annual youth-driven cabaret performance.
- Connect with Our Space on Facebook or Instagram
- Download BeFIERCE: A Toolkit for Working with LGBTQ Youth
Side by Side gratefully acknowledges Bay Area Physicians for Human Rights, Horizons Foundation, National Association of Theater Owners, Sutter Bay Hospitals/Eden Medical Center, and the Youth Acceptance Collaborative for supporting Our Space.