...and LGBTQ-positive movie/tv recommendations - scroll down!
The Shelter in Place order is affecting us all differently. For the LGBTQ youth we serve in Alameda County, it’s a time of anxiety, fear, and uncertainty. But Side By Side’s Our Space staff is stepping up to make these youth feel supported and safe through this unsettling time.

According to Diego Basdeo Fitzgerald, program manager of Our Space, the first thing he did when the Shelter in Place order was announced was to check in with his staff. “I needed to make sure that they were healthy enough to work, and to see if they needed any support around the new physical distancing requirements,” he said. “Clear communication is key when things are changing so rapidly.”

Next, we checked in personally with every single client. Every youth now receives a personal message from Our Space staff every day. Even in the best of times, these youth may not feel comfortable at home. Being ordered to shelter in place when they feel unsettled at home, or may lack privacy in a group home setting, causes extreme anxiety and even panic. “Being available to these youth is very, very important right now,” Fitzgerald explained. “It’s imperative that they hear from us every single day.”

We went to work immediately stabilizing current placements , working with youth on conflict resolution and meditation skills, and providing therapy when appropriate. At the same time, we prepared for the eventuality that some of the youth would run away or get kicked out. Stress and anxiety can cause situations to escalate quickly. “So we made a plan,” said Fitzgerald. “We’re ready to support them if they find themselves without a place to stay.”

Our Space's regular services have also evolved to meet the crisis:
  • Mental health services are still in operation, with therapists seeing clients virtually.
  • Virtual peer support groups have been a big success. “I was surprised to discover that the virtual setting had the same impact as in-person groups,” admitted Fitzgerald, who said that the virtual groups were helping our young people who are struggling right now.”
  • Movie and TV Group, which helps youth normalize their experience by watching TV shows and movies depicting LGBTQ characters, has also gone virtual. Next up: a real-time viewing of Edward Scissorhands via Zoom. “They can either talk about their problems or not,” said Fitzgerald. “Sometimes they just want to watch the movie. It’s about exposing them to the material and allowing them to feel supported.” (Scroll down to check out the Our Space staff's LGBTQ-positive movie and TV recommendations to stream!)

The technology that many of us take for granted is the biggest challenge we’re working to address so that our clients can access desperately vital services. The people Our Space wants to reach the most are the ones that don’t have it.

But despite every adversity and obstacle, the Our Space staff -- like all Side by Side staff -- are providing comfort and connection, and showing fierce love throughout, for the young people they work with.
How You Can Help
While we feel proud to be able provide these critically needed services to Alameda County's LGBTQ community, your generosity today would help Side by Side ride out financial challenges that include reductions in expected revenue from canceled fundraising events and billing uncertainties due to necessary changes in our program services . Your contribution will also provide resources to support Our Space clients who may not have the technology that they need.
It's times like these when standing together is so important, please donate now to our Relief Fund. 
Our Space's LGBTQ Movie and TV Suggestions
  • Love Simon - A romantic comedy. Simon hasn't told his family or friends that he's gay, and he doesn't know the identity of the anonymous classmate that he's fallen for online. Resolving both issues proves hilarious, terrifying and life-changing. AGES: 13+
  • Moonlight - A look at three defining chapters in the life of Chiron, a young black man growing up in Miami. His epic journey to manhood is guided by the kindness, support and love of the community that helps raise him.. AGES: 16+
  • Kiki - A 2016 documentary featuring LGBTQ youth-of-color who gathered on New York City's Christopher Street Pier to practice the performance-based art form Ballroom, which was made famous in the early 1990s by Madonna's music video "Vogue" and the documentary "Paris Is Burning." AGES: All Ages.
  • Happy Birthday Marsha - A documentary about iconic transgender artist and activist, Marsha "Pay it No Mind" Johnson and her life in the hours before she ignited the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City. AGES: 16+.
  • Pariah - A drama about a teenage lesbian, Alike, who quietly embraces her identity and is looking for her first lover, but she wonders how much she can truly confide in her family, especially with her parents' marriage already strained. AGES: 18+
TV Shows
  • One Day at a Time - Based on Norman Lear's 1975 sitcome, this 2017 award-winning series follows the story of Penelope Alvarez, a United States Army Nurse Corps veteran, facing her return to civilian life with a lot of unresolved issues from her time in the Army. AGES: 13+
  • Tales of the City - Based on the original 1993 PBS miniseries, Mary Ann Singleton (Laura Linney) returns to 28 Barbary Lane in San Francisco after a 23-year absence for the 90th birthday celebration of her former landlady, Anna Madrigal (Olympia Dukakis). AGES: 16+
  • Steven Universe - A coming-of-age story of a young half-boy half-gemstone, Steven Universe, who lives with the Crystal Gems (magical, humanoid aliens named Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl) in the fictional town of Beach City. AGES: All Ages
  • Queer Eye - In this reality TV show, the Fab Five (a team of gay professionals in the fields of fashion, personal grooming, interior design, entertaining and culture) travel around, visiting men who've been nominated by friends and family to receive a little help getting their homes, fashion, grooming regime, and other elements of their lives in order. AGES: All Ages
  • Pose - Nominated for numerous Golden Globe and Emmy awards, this TV drama spotlights the legends, icons, and ferocious house mothers of New York’s underground ball culture, a movement that first gained notice in the 1980s. AGES: 18+