If you are a gay teenager or are questioning your gender identity, know that you are not alone. In Southern California, there are a variety of resources available to help you understand your sexuality, meet other gay teens, and participate in activities in a safe environment. Here are just a few of the resources that are available to you:
The Center is a community center for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) youth and adults. There are three different locations in Southern California: The Center OC is in Garden Grove, The Center LB is in Long Beach, and The Center SD is in San Diego. Here you can hang out with other teens, receive medical information, join a support group, or participate in any of their ongoing activities. Most services are available in English and Spanish. Check out the website of the center closest to you to get more information.
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is a non-profit organization that has chapters across the U.S. including many in Southern California. San Diego, Long Beach, South Bay, and Orange County are just a few of the active chapters in this area. PFLAG promotes the health and well-being of all LGBT individuals, their families and friends through support, advocacy, and education. Visit PFLAG.org for more information and to find the chapter nearest you.
Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center
The L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center (LAGLC) is located in Los Angeles, California and provides a variety of services for the LGBT community including health services, help with legal issues, hate crimes advocacy, educational services, and counseling services. LAGLC has youth resources too, including a 20-bed transitional living facility for 18-to-24 year olds, as well as the Jeff Griffith Youth Center. Visit LAGLC.org for more information.
There are a number of counselors and therapists available in Southern California to help gay teens and their families. In Orange County, I recommend contacting Lisa Maurel, MFT – an affirming therapist who works with LGBT teens and adults in Orange County and surrounding areas. Her websites also list additional resources and books that can help individuals and families find answers to their gender or sexuality based questions. Lisa Maurel’s websites are: www.therapy4oclesbians.com and www.genderpath.com.
To find other mental health providers in Southern California, you can also find listings for them on the web pages of The Center OC,The Center LB, and LAGLC.
Be who you are, and know the answers and resources are out there.