By: Julie Pesch
Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago’s Center for Gender Sexuality and HIV Prevention along with other Chicago organizations that serve the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) youth are hosting a “Safe Space Day” of workshops and events that focus on anti-bullying. Safe Space Day will also provide targeted education to adolescents and teens about protection from acquiring and transmitting HIV, and encourage HIV testing and early treatment.
A recent national survey shows that eight out 10 LGBTQ students experienced harassment at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation, and three-fifths feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation. The event will take place Sunday, May 5, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at The Center on Halsted (3656 N. Halsted Ave).
Although most teens are able to navigate their adolescent years successfully with the support of caring families and communities, some young people experience significant challenges that affect their mental and physical health. In particular, research has shown that LGBTQ youth are more likely than their peers to experience difficulties in their school, home and social lives.
Other organizations participating include: Anti-Defamation League, YOU Belong, LLC, openly gay and former NFL player Wade Davis, Filmmaker and Activist Lauren Lubin, Chicago Sky WNBA Team, Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association, Illinois Safe School Alliance, Center on Halsted Youth Group, About Face Youth Theatre, DePaul University LGBT Student Group, Professor Darnell Moore, Chicago House and Social Service Agency.
Julie Pesch is director, Public Affairs and Communications at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago