By Gina Martinez
Queens Community House is helping dress transgender teens.
The non-profit’s Generation Q program is holding a clothing drive and book swap aimed at helping to provide clothing for LGBTQ teens in a way that makes them feel confident.
Queens Community House serves more than 20,000 people every year. The non-profit operates out of 25 sites in 11 neighborhoods in Queens offering children, families and seniors support with school, employment and housing.
Generation Q is an after-school drop-in center for LGBTQ youth up to 21 years old. Community
House said the program is meant to offer a safe and supportive space for LGBTQ teens and a place to participate in arts activities, workshops and advocacy efforts.
Lindsey Duel, director at Generation Q, said clothing is one of the main ways for LGBTQ teens to express their identity.
“For some transgender and gender non-conforming folks there is a disconnect between their physical characteristics and their gender identity,” she said. “Clothing can help to relieve some of this disconnect between their outward appearance and inward identity.”
Duel added that some trans teens are not supported by their families, forcing them to dress in opposition to their gender identity.
“For some of our youth, their parents do not accept their gender identity and they won’t support them in buying the clothes they want, forcing their kids to stay closeted and uncomfortable in their own bodies,” Duel said. “We want them to be able to choose clothing that fits their identity.”
A Generation Q participant explained why the clothing drive is important to him.
“Although being assigned female-at-birth typically grants you more leeway in wearing ‘masculine’ clothes,” he said, “I still initially had to buy men’s clothes in secret, riddled with guilt and anxiety that what I was doing was inherently wrong and that somebody would catch me. Having access to free clothing that aligns with a certain gender can be immensely helpful in easing gender dysphoria and anxiety in trans youth. It lets them know that they are free to be themselves and that they are loved and accepted.”
Donations can be dropped off at Generation Q’s offices on 110-01 62nd Drive in Forest Hills Monday to Friday from 12 to 7 p.m.
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart