For many LGBTQ youth in Central Brooklyn, being rejected by parents or family members can lead to risky and dangerous behavior. To stave this off,
(Accept LGBTQ Youth), a CAMBA HIV prevention initiative, launched a new transit-based campaign in September to encourage acceptance of these young people by their parents, guardians and families.
This year's Project ALY campaign keeps with past years in promoting acceptance of the spectrum of LGBTQ youth, but the 2015 initiative homes in on family acceptance of transgender youth, an extremely vulnerable population with high rates of homelessness, substance use and HIV infection.
"Parents and family members who struggle with acceptance will come to understand the harmful effects that disapproval and rejection can have on LGBTQ youth," says Lisa Koffler, CAMBA Program Manager for Prevention Services. "This will help break the silence, remove stigma and motivate change throughout the community," she added.
The ad campaign includes messaging on bus shelters and buses throughout Central Brooklyn. Project ALY also gets that message out through its Family Acceptance and LGBTQ Cultural Competency workshops for community groups, schools and agencies.
Interested parents and family members are encouraged to attend monthly support groups to discuss their attitudes and concerns.
In a novel approach, the program enlists supportive parents of LGBTQ youth, who share their stories and become role models for others who are not yet as accepting.
As the mother of one parent of transgender teen put it, "It's hard, it's something you can't understand and you don't want to accept, but that's your child. You've got to love them - that's the bottom line. That's your child, no matter what."
For more information on the campaign and resources for parents, family members and youth, visit