LGBTQ+ Teens Talk Empowerment

For too many LGBTQ+ teens, feelings of isolation, discrimination and judgement are an all too normal part of their daily lives. In times that can be intensely challenging, it’s more important than ever that kids and youth have spaces where they can safely explore their identities and build friendships. That’s why Rite Aid Healthy Futures is proud to support The Attic Youth Center, a Philadelphia nonprofit whose mission is to create opportunities for LGBTQ+ youth to develop into healthy, independent, thriving adults.

At its core, The Attic is committed to fostering a sense of belonging, support, and empowerment for LGBTQ+ youth. The center offers a wide range of programs and services designed to meet the diverse needs of its members including counseling and support groups, educational workshops, arts and cultural activities, leadership development, and health and wellness initiatives.

By providing a nurturing environment and comprehensive resources, The Attic Youth Center plays a crucial role in empowering LGBTQ+ youth to embrace their identities, achieve personal growth, and become agents of positive change in their communities.

As part of our Pride Month celebrations, we asked youth from The Attic to share their thoughts on Pride, the importance of allyship and how we can best come together to support the LGBTQ+ community. Here’s what they had to say!

Q: What does Pride Month mean to you?

“A time to celebrate queer love and queer joy.” – Scarlet

“Remembering LGBTQ struggles.” – Nyela

“Celebrating expression and acceptance.” – Matthew

“Happiness and fun!” – Brianna

“Celebrating yourself and a fight/protest for basic human rights.”– Ava

Q: What allyship important and does it mean to be an ally?

“If you just slap a sticker or flag on your business or donate a small percentage [of your profit] only in June how much of an ally are you actually? Allies advocate all throughout the year by donating and helping those in need.” Jett

“To be an ally is to show up in a way you’re able when possible. It is important because the issues that affect us the hardest really affect everyone. We are simply canaries in a coal mine.” – Ava

“Being an ally means being open to us and our ways of being.” – Robin

“Allyship is important because it allows our voices to be heard in rooms that may not have had our perspective before.” – Nyela

Q: How can we support and empower LGBTQ+ kids and teens?

Two youth dancing together during a drag performance

“Listen to them, create safe spaces and areas for acceptance, help more of the new generation to be educated and normalized to queerness. – Jett

“By making more events and programs specific to LGBTQ kids and teens.”
– Brianna

“Give them room to grow and the support they need to grow.”
– Zay

“Uplift our voices and amplify the causes we care about because together we are stronger.” – Ava

“By communicating with them directly about their needs.”
– Nyela

Q: Why are safe spaces so important? How can we help others feel safe around us?

“Stick up for us and stand up against prejudice, don’t just tolerate it. Things can very often be life or death for us and we need allies to speak up instead of being complacent.” – Jett

“Safe spaces allow us to express ourselves and have deep, more nuances conversations without fear for one’s humanity and due respect.” – Ava

“Safe spaces are important because they give people a sense of security and shelter. We can ensure others feel safe by respecting peoples’ boundaries.” – Scarlet

“Safe spaces are vital because they give people support in difficult situations. We can ensure people feel safe by being considerate of one another’s triggers and background when talking.” – Nyela

Q: How has The Attic positively impacted your life?

Youth marching during the 2023 Philly Pride Festival

“The Attic provides an area where we feel accepted. Helps us with food, transportation, hygiene essentials. The Attic genuinely cares and supports us and connects us to resources if they can’t provide them.” – Jett

“The Attic helped me grow and become more of who I am.” – Zay

“The Attic gave me access to a queer Black community which allowed me to reclaim my blackness and fully own my queerness.” – Ava

“The Attic has given me a wonderful community and empowered me to do more.” – Scarlet

“I found community, therapy, and family at The Attic.” – Nyela

“The Attic has given me amazing opportunities and has helped me develop my social skills.” – Matthew

“Being a place for just youth to gather!” – Brianna