For more than thirty years, our U-21 Program has provided one of the few places for Albuquerque’s LGBTQ youth to socialize in a safe, welcoming, and affirming environment. Every Friday night, Albuquerque youth under the age of 21, come together to discuss issues and play games in an environment free of bullying or judgment, an environment where every person can express their true self without fear of being teased, mistreated, or physically harmed. In a world where LGBTQ+ rights are still being debated, and members of the community are still victims of prejudice and abuse, organizations such as U-21 are critical to the health and well being of our city’s youth.
Participants in U-21 reflect a wide spectrum of race, religion, and socio-economic backgrounds. The participants are all different and understandably have different reasons for attending U-21. Most young people come every Friday night because they enjoy playing games and socializing with their peers. Facilitators work to provide an environment that can be fun as well as supportive and educational, frequently inviting guest speakers from outside organizations.
“The under 21 group was crucial to my coming out process. I was introduced to valuable peers and role models, most of whom I am still friends with some 10+ years later. It was wonderful to have a safe place where I could be myself.” –Brian
“So, what I want to tell you is thank you for starting this group and making a safe environment. I don’t know where I would be today if there was no U-21. I am very thankful for you being there for everyone and me.” –Robert
The U-21 youth groups are facilitated by an inspiring group of volunteers that have all been vetted by the Program Director and agree to abide by strict confidentiality and no-fraternization policies. Facilitators have reach-back capability to several licensed counselors and contacts at the Children Youth and Families Department, should the need arise to refer a matter out to a trained social worker.
Do you have questions about raising an LGBT youth? You are not alone. There are lots of resources that you can access to get answers to questions.
You can discuss issues with other parents by joining our parent-only Facebook group. Find useful resources, ask questions, make connections. Search for us on Facebook under “U-21 Parent Group”. All discussions and posts are confidential. BTW, your kids do not have access to the page.
Other useful Links for Parents:
You can always ask direct questions by emailing as at email@example.com