Life House lifts up LGBTQ youth

Updated: November 20, 2020 09:37 PM
Created: November 20, 2020 05:25 PM

DULUTH, Minn. - Transgender Day of Remembrance is a somber one in the LGBTQ community, when the lives lost to anti-trans violence are remembered. 

But at Life House in downtown Duluth, staff want to make sure trans people are lifted up and celebrated as well. 

"I feel like Life House is a place that we're able to navigate a lot of these intersecting identities," Chris Davila said. 

Of the more than 900 youth Life House served in 2019, 20% identify as LGBTQ. 

"Here at Life House, I think we do really well at offering services that are open to any gender identity. The Loft, our emergency shelter, is one bathroom, one shower. There's no distinction of gender binary," Executive Director Jordon Johnson said. 

He said when LGBTQ teens and young adults end up homeless, it's often because they are fleeing a hostile or abusive home environment. 

"When they come through the door here at Life House, they know that there's an adult who will care for them no matter what," Johnson said. 

Davila, Life House's Director of Inclusion, said his own identities as a gay Mexican American attracted him to the diversity field. He said from his experience, the barriers and difficulties of navigating a trans identity often result in creative and resilient people. 

"This is not a population that are always seen as victims," Davila said. "They are thriving, they are actively involved in social justice and civil rights, and oftentimes they are amazing allies because they're able to understand across different identities, they're able to empathize with others."

Learn more about Life House here

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