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A passionate group of proud, assertive teens -- Critical Voice, a queer youth coalition -- is determined to stand up to substance abuse among LGBT youth in the County of San Diego.
A number of substance-abuse-specific risk factors for LGBT adolescents make them especially vulnerable to the advertising tactics of the alcohol and tobacco industries. These risk factors include the challenge of connecting to supportive adults and peers, a lack of access to role models, and few opportunities to socialize with their LGBT peers, except in bar and club environments.
Critical Voice aspires to provide a safe space and substance-free environment for young adults to celebrate.
WHEN: FRIDAY, JULY 15TH | 6-11PM
WHERE: GOLDEN HILL YOUTH CENTER | BROADWAY SAN DIEGO, CA 2220 92103
DETAILS: AGES 14-20
Community Organizer Lauren Martin believes understanding these unique risk factors are essential to creating effective strategies for reducing alcohol and drug use among LGBT teens.
“Critical Voice was founded on the idea that addressing the environmental issues facing the LGBT community is key to promoting healthy lifestyle choices among teens,” asserted Martin.
Putting a youth voice to the myriad of challenges facing the LGBT community – including bullying, homelessness, depression, and suicide – propels Critical Voice’s mission. The teens view substance abuse as a common denominator to destructive behavior. This knowledge inspires their work to provide LGBT teens a place to come together to celebrate their essence and identity.
“Alcohol and drug abuse do not exist in vacuum,” Martin said. “Our youth deserve a safe space, outside of bars and clubs, where they can thrive. We invite the community to engage in a dialogue with LGBT youth, who have a powerful perspective to share about these pressing social issues.”
In recent months, the teens have been busy organizing several community campaigns to put Critical Voice’s mission into action. The group’s participation in the National Day of Silence – a youth-inspired event that invites teens to take a vow of silence in order to bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in their schools – infused their cause with inspiration and encouragement.
"The teens coordinated a demonstration that drew the support of nearly 50 people,” explained Martin. “Walking in silence alongside their friends and allies was a compelling affirmation of the community’s support for LGBT youth.”
Critical Voice plans to be a powerful presence at this year’s San Diego Pride festival. Plans are in the works for an alcohol-and-tobacco-free dance the Friday before the big parade.
For more information, contact the National Association of Lesbian and Gay Addiction Professionals (NALGAP)