The True Inclusion Toolbox will equip service providers with the tools they need to offer safe and affirming care for LGBTQ young people.
Hey! True Philanthropy Fellow Bryson here to talk about the True Inclusion Toolbox, a free resource that The True Colors Fund has developed to help service providers meet the needs of and protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Right now, hundreds of these toolboxes are being sent out to youth-serving organizations across the U.S.
First, let me introduce myself. Well, I am a white, cisgender, asexual homoromantic young adult living in Alaska. I’ve experienced housing instability and homelessness off and on since I was 18. I’ve worked in retail, non-profit outreach and education, the homeless shelter I stayed at when I was 18, and currently with the state. The True Philanthropy Fellowship has taught me skills in email marketing, and grant writing for nonprofit organizations. Both of which I will use to further my career in nonprofit organizations.
A toolbox? For inclusion? What could that possibly be?
Well! It’s a box (lol) that The True Colors Fund is sending out to no cost for the receiving agencies that contains a collection of items to help providers serve LGBTQ youth – as well as all youth. Because by helping the minority, you help the majority.
What’s in the box?
- Training materials
- One of the best ways to ensure youth are safe and respected is by getting your team on the same page! Our training materials help build organizational knowledge and understanding of LGBTQ subjects and terminology.
- Sample policies for inclusion/non-discrimination
- We want to help all organizations develop policies that protect LGBTQ youth. A good rule of thumb? If it’s not in writing, it doesn’t exist!
- All-gender/single-use restroom signs
- By de-gendering the restrooms or providing single-use restrooms, you take away the anxiety of an individual being discriminated by their gender expression.
- Safe space signs
- This is by far, what I believe, will be the most effective in not only bringing in LGBTQIA+ individuals, but setting a tone for all who enter. By declaring that this is a safe space for all, you’re ensuring that individuals coming in know that they will not be disrespected or discriminated by staff.
- Diversity posters
- This takes the Safe Space signage to the next step by showing individuals inside the organization just how diverse the world is. Now, when I said earlier that when you help the minority, you help the majority too. Just imagine walking into an organization and seeing the diverse and wonderful people inside. Knowing that you are accepted inside those walls.
Let’s make every space a safe one.
Not only have I experienced homelessness, but I was given a chance to work at the same shelter that helped me while I was a teen. That being said, The True Colors Fund has made the True Inclusion Toolbox the easiest thing to implement. By hanging posters, de-gendering the bathrooms or providing single-use restrooms, and by implementing Non-Discrimination policies, you not only provide a safe space for LGBTIQA+ individuals, but for anyone of any creed, color, or background.