No Closets No Shadows - Supporting Undocumented LGBTQ+ Youth
Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Yesterday, the Trump Administration ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA. This program allowed for undocumented youth who were brought to the US as children to not only receive work permits, but to no longer live in fear of deportation from what was for many, the only country they have ever known. There are an estimated 800,000 youth who are eligible for DACA, often referred to as DREAMEers. The Williams Institute estimates there are 75,000 LGBTQ+ DREAMers and 36,000 of them are enrolled in DACA.
 
The end of DACA could mean that many undocumented youth will go back to living in fear for their safety and they will go back into the shadows. While the experience is different, LGBTQ+ people know the heartache, pain, and fear of living in the closet, of hiding who we are. No young person should have to live in fear because of their sexuality, gender, or immigration status. While our country's leaders work to address immigration, we must continue to support the youth in our communities because they are our neighbors, our friends, and our youth.
 
At Side by Side we believe in supporting all LGBTQ+ youth regardless of religion or faith, race or ethnicity, immigration or citizenship status. We believe in creating supportive communities where all LGBTQ+ youth can truly thrive. Side by Side will continue to support all LGBTQ+ youth including undocumented youth. To our undocumented youth and their families we will do our best to connect you to helpful resources such as the Transgender Law Center's TIDE Program and the local Legal Aid Justice CenterAnd our Side by Side youth center in Richmond as well as our groups in Charlottesville and Petersburg will remain a safe haven for all LGBTQ+ youth.  
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