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How Anti Trans Legislation is Impacting our Transgender Youth 495 401 cj

How Anti Trans Legislation is Impacting our Transgender Youth

How Anti Trans Legislation is Impacting our Transgender Youth

By Jay Baldwin

The American Civil Liberties Union is currently tracking nearly 500 anti-LGBTQ bills in the United States that have been introduced since the start of 2023. It is staggering to realize that this already is nearly twice the number of anti-LGBTQ bills that were introduced just one year ago in 2022. Despite the existence of the First Amendment, which affords us the right to free expression, many politicians are determined to stomp on free speech and expression for LGBTQ people, limiting access to books about the community and trying to ban or censor performances like drag shows. When it comes to the transgender and gender diverse community, many of these bills aim to restrict or eliminate entirely transgender youth’s access to trans affirming health care, ability to participate in sports that align with their gender identity, or their ability to be fully protected and included in school wide policies. In the first half of 2023 alone, 19 states have enacted bans or significant new restrictions on gender-affirming care for minors, most ending the use of cross-sex hormones and puberty blockers. For the first time in its four-decade history, the Human Rights Campaign has declared a National State of Emergency of LGBTQ+ Americans.

With so much of this legislation specifically targeting the transgender community, it goes without saying that these measures have had significant mental health tolls on our young people. The Trevor Project’s 2023 U.S. National Survey on the Mental Health of LGBTQ Young People captures the experiences of more than 28,000 LGBTQ young people ages 13 to 24 across the United States. Nearly 1 in 3 LGBTQ young people said their mental health was poor most of the time or always due to anti-LGBTQ policies and legislation. Over 40% of LGBTQ young people seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year—and young people who are transgender, nonbinary, and/or people of color reported higher rates than their white cisgender LGBTQ peers.

With such stark statistics, it can be easy to feel helpless. And yet, even in the face of this national state of emergency for LGBTQ people, and our trans youth specifically, there are still encouraging statistics. LGBTQ young people who had access to affirming homes, schools, community events, and online spaces reported lower rates of attempted suicide compared to those who did not. If you know a youth who is in need of mental health support through individual counseling, don’t hesitate to inquire about our LGBTQ+ affirming therapy services by filling out this form.

In addition, sexual minorities who participate in LGBTQ activism tend to have enhanced psychological well-being. Kaleidoscope is proud to offer our LGBTQ+ and neurodiverse young people an opportunity to work together and make meaningful contributions to their LGBTQ+ community through the Youth Council Leadership Program. Youth leaders serve for 2 hours per month and help Kaleidoscope plan social events for youth, give us feedback on our services, and contribute ideas for future programming.

And lastly, if you or a youth you know is in immediate crisis or just needs a supportive listener, the Trans Lifeline Hotline is a peer support phone service run by trans people for our trans and questioning peers.

Looking for other ways to support transgender youth?

Check out A Guide to Being an Ally for Trans and Non Binary Youth.

From all of us at Kaleidoscope, we want our Trans community to know that we see you, we hear you, and we uplift your stories and voices.

Pride Month 2023 Recap 495 401 cj

Pride Month 2023 Recap

Pride Month 2023 Recap

By Jay Baldwin

Pride Month is always exciting for Kaleidoscope, and this June was no exception, as we proudly participated in numerous pride events across Los Angeles. (And in case you missed our last post about the History of Pride Month, or want to learn more about why the LGBTQ+ community celebrates Pride every year, click here!)

But how exactly did we celebrate pride and drum up support for the LGBTQ+ community? Let’s get into it.

Kaleidoscope at Weho Pride

We kicked off Pride Month at WeHo Pride on June 3th, where Pride has been celebrated since 1979. WeHo pride is considered one of the largest pride events in the country, boasting tens of thousands of individuals from the LGBTQ+ community as well as their allies. Despite the fact that 2023 has seen some of the highest number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills of the past few years, I was struck by the fact that still, our community showed up to shout, cheer, chant, celebrate and not back down.

As an organization that serves LGBTQ+ youth, I was particularly moved by families with children who approached our booth, showed support, sought out resources for the LGBTQ+ young people in their lives, and took away our rainbow themed give aways with smiles on their faces. LGBTQ+ youth are under significant attack right now in the U.S., and the power of affirming parents and caregivers to change and save these young lives cannot be overstated.

Kaleidoscope at LA Pride & Beyond

The celebration continued at LA Pride on June 11th. We were truly honored to be a beneficiary of Cheer LA’s fundraising for the third year in a row and to march alongside them in the LA Pride Parade. Cheer LA is an active group of volunteers seeking to promote awareness, spirit, and diversity in the LGBTQ+ community through dynamic cheer, dance, and stunt performances, and we were honored to receive a generous donation from their fundraising efforts.

We continued to celebrate and bring awareness to our program by taking part in San Fernando Valley Pride on June 24. This was a smaller pride event geared toward building up and spreading awareness of the ever-growing LGBTQ+ community in San Fernando Valley. It was amazing to see how many LGBTQ+ affirming resources there are in this part of Los Angeles County. We made connections with educators, community leaders, social workers, parents, caregivers and LGBTQ+ youth, and were very excited to see Caroline Menjivar, one of the major sponsors and organizers of this year’s Pride event. Caroline is a California State Senator of the 20th District, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and an important member of Kaleidoscope’s Advisory Board.

Kaleidoscope’s Pride Month Webcast

And finally, Kaleidoscope took the opportunity to offer our support and guidance to parents and givers of LGBTQ+ youth by providing a pride month webcast on June 21st titled, “Navigating Your Child’s Coming Out Journey Together.” This free webcast offered practical strategies and suggestions for understanding the coming out process for young people, exploring and normalizing common reactions when a child comes out, and learning how to compassionately support you and your child during their coming out process If you missed it or would like to re-watch it, please click HERE for the recording.

While June is the biggest month of celebration in the LGBTQ+ community, Kaleidoscope is proud to affirm our LGBTQ+ and neurodiverse young people all year long. If you or someone you know are seeking resources, support or just have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected].

Here is to being affirmed, seen and loved, today and every day.

Celebrating Pride Month 2023 495 401 cj

Celebrating Pride Month 2023

Celebrating Pride Month 2023

By Leo Kirkham and Jay Baldwin

Pride Month is a time to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community and all that we have accomplished. It is also a time to raise awareness of the challenges that LGBTQIA+ people still face.

Pride Month is celebrated every June to honor the LGBTQ+ community and our fight for equal rights. It began with the Stonewall Uprising in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, when LGBTQ+ people in New York City protested against police brutality and discrimination during a police bar raid of a gay bar, the Stonewall Inn. The riots are widely considered to be a turning point in the LGBTQ+ rights movement.

The first Pride parade was held on June 28, 1970 in New York City to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots. It was organized by “Mother of Pride,” Brenda Howard, a bisexual rights activist and feminist.

The second Pride parades were held in 1971 in various cities in the United States, including New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

The Stonewall Riots sparked a movement that has grown into a global celebration of love, acceptance, and diversity. Today, Pride Month is a time for LGBTQ+ people and allies to come together, celebrate their identities, and continue fighting for equality.

This year, Pride Month is particularly important because of the recent wave of anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation that has been passed in the United States. These laws have made it more difficult for LGBTQIA+ people to live their lives freely and openly.

In light of these challenges, it is more important than ever to celebrate Pride Month and to show support for the LGBTQIA+ community. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Attend a Pride parade or festival, such as WeHo Pride or LA Pride.
  • Donate to LGBTQIA+ organizations, such as Kaleidoscope.
  • Talk to your friends and family about LGBTQIA+ issues.
  • Use your voice to speak out against discrimination.
  • Ask your workplace to host an LGBTQ competency training.

If you aren’t out yet, don’t feel ready to come out, or maybe it’s not safe for you to be your authentic self with your family or friends, please know that you are not alone. There are many ways to acknowledge pride month, take part in pride events, or engage in a form of self care that honors your authentic self. There is no right or wrong way to be during Pride Month. Here are a few things we suggest trying out if you want to have a pride celebration privately, are just getting started in your journey, or just want a quieter activity.

Kaleidoscope is proud to affirm our LGBTQ+ community, especially our LGBTQ+ young people. If you do feel safe and ready to be part of a pride event in person, come celebrate with us on June 23rd from 6-8PM at our annual Pride Party in Sherman Oaks for LGBTQ+ youth ages 11-17. RSVP here!

From all of us at Kaleidoscope, wishing you a safe, heathy and joyous pride month, no matter how you choose to celebrate.

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia
International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia 495 401 cj

International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia

International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia

By Leo Kirkham

The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia is celebrated on May 17 every year.

The holiday was imagined in 2004 by grassroots activists, and commemorated for the first time on May 17, 2005. The day of May 17 was chosen to represent the day in 1990 that the World Health Organization removed “homosexuality” from its classifications of mental disorders.

The committee of grassroots activists went by the acronym IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia). In 2009, the phrase transphobia was added to recognize the violence and discrimination against transgender people. By 2015, biphobia was added as well, to recognize the unique discrimination experienced by bisexual, pansexual, and other multisexual people. The complete acronym is now IDAHOBIT, recognizing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people together.

Petitions were launched by IDAHOBIT in 2005 and 2009, attracting historical support from many non-profit organizations and countries across the world. In 2005, activities for the day took place worldwide, including the first LGBTQ events ever to take place in the Congo, China, and Bulgaria. In 2009, when transphobia was added to the campaign, the petition was supported by more than 300 non-governmental organizations from more than 75 countries, as well as three Nobel Prize winners. Shortly before May 17, 2009, France became the first country in the world to remove transgender people from their list of mental disorders.

The goal of the day is to create an event that can be visible at the global level without requiring a specific form of action, allowing LGBTQ people and allies to approach the day in a way that feels authentic and actionable for them. Petitions, protests, marches, letters to newspapers, letters to politicians, celebrations, and more are welcome on the IDAHOBIT. The goal is a worldwide day of raising awareness and taking action.

How will you take action this May 17?

  • Post on social media: Find an IDAHOBIT media kit here and here and post with the hashtag #IDAHOBIT2023
  • Join your local school board meetings and speak up in support of LGBTQ students
  • Join your local neighborhood council meetings and speak up in support of LGBTQ rights in your neighborhood
  • Write to your local politicians and vote!
  • Write a letter to the editor for your local paper supporting transgender rights
  • Listen to music by transgender musicians
  • Watch TV and movies starring transgender actors
  • And last but not least, VOLUNTEER with Kaleidoscope! We can use your help this summer, whether it’s at a social event or a resource fair, to support our LGBTQ+ youth and give them safe spaces to connect with each other and be their authentic selves.

From all of us at Kaleidoscope, thank you for reading and taking the time to honor International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia.

Allies: Speak Up on the Day of Silence
Allies: Speak up on the Day of Silence 496 401 cj

Allies: Speak up on the Day of Silence

Allies: Speak Up on the Day of Silence

Allies: Speak up on the Day of Silence

By Leo Kirkham

We all remember – or for some of us, currently experience – how cruel kids can be in school. Bullying is a major problem for students who are marginalized in some way, whether it’s kids of color experiencing racism, disabled children experiencing ableism, or LGBTQ kids experiencing homophobia and transphobia.

52% of LGBTQ middle and high school students report being bullied in school or over the internet. These numbers are higher for middle schoolers (65%), transgender and nonbinary students (61%), Native and Indigenous students (70%), and multiracial students (54%).

Mistreatment by others, including bullying, is a strong and consistent risk factor for youth suicide. Youth who are bullied are three times more likely to attempt suicide. This is true whether the bullying takes place in person at school or online.

However, LGBTQ students who report that their schools are LGBTQ-affirming are less likely to be bullied, by 30% (The Trevor Project).

Started in the mid-90s by two college students, the National Day of Silence is an annual day of action to raise awareness about the effects of bullying and harassment against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning students. Students – both LGBTQ and allies – who participate in the Day of Silence spend the entire day without speaking, to represent the way that bullying and harassment silences LGBTQ youth.

What can you do to honor the Day of Silence? Speak up! LGBTQ youth need adult allies to talk to their school administrators and teachers. Attend a school board meeting and voice your support for an LGBTQ-affirming school environment and anti-harassment and anti-bullying policies. Support LGBTQ-history and inclusive sex education. Support gender-neutral bathrooms in your local schools. A great example of affirming and safe spaces are The Help Group schools and Kaleidoscope programs.

Bullying is a significant area of concern for LGBTQ youth, particularly Native youth, transgender and nonbinary youth, and middle school students. Taking action to support bullied students can save lives.

For resources and support on how to support your LGBTQ+ students and youth, please reach out to us with any questions at [email protected].

Celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility
Celebrating National Transgender Day of Visibility 495 400 cj

Celebrating National Transgender Day of Visibility

Celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility

Celebrating National Transgender Day of Visibility 2023

By Leo Kirkham

National Transgender Day of Visibility, celebrated on March 31, was founded in 2009 by transgender activist Rachel Crandall as a response to the lack of holidays celebrating transgender people, citing frustration that the only well-known transgender holiday was the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Transgender Day of Visibility is a day to celebrate the transgender community and our diverse experiences and identities. It is a day to celebrate trans joy and the ways that transgender people are alive and well and living joyous, fulfilling lives.

Yes, trans people experience discrimination and tragedy, but that is not our whole story. We also experience love, friendship, happiness, chosen family, and long, happy lives. Here are five ways to celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility and honor your transgender sisters, brothers, and siblings.

1. Attend or volunteer at a local Transgender Day of Visibility event and celebrate with others in the community.

2. Follow and engage with transgender advocates and organizations on social media. Some people and groups to follow are:

3. Reach out to transgender people in your life and show them your support.

  • Check in about your loved one’s pronouns and name – their feelings may have changed, and they may wish to be referred to by a different name or pronoun.
  • Ask if your loved one wants help legally changing their name or starting a medical transition.
  • Ask your loved one how you can best support them in their journey and identity.

4. Educate yourself on transgender-related topics to be more informed and to better understand the community.

Some topics to research include:

  • Transgender homelessness
  • Transgender employment
  • Transgender housing
  • Transgender healthcare access
  • Transgender mental health
  • Nonbinary identities
  • Transgender education, students’ rights in school
  • Transgender media representation
  • Violence against transgender people
  • Marginalization of transgender women of color; intersectionality

5. Donate to organizations that are working to advance transgender rights and equality.

From all of us at Kaleidoscope, we want our Trans community to know that we see you, we hear you, and we uplift your stories and voices.

National LGBTQ+ Health Awareness Week
National LGBTQ Health Awareness Week 495 401 cj

National LGBTQ Health Awareness Week

National LGBTQ+ Health Awareness Week

National LGBTQ Health Awareness Week

By Leo Kirkham

Sponsored by the National Coalition for LGBTQ Health, the 21st annual National LGBTQ Health Awarness Week is March 20-24, 2023. This week celebrates good health for LGBTQ people, and brings awareness to the health disparities faced by the community.

Looking for therapy for a teen or young adult?  The Help Group’s Lumina Counseling has appointment availability throughout the week and weekends, both in-person and online. To schedule an appointment or inquire for more information, call 818-779-5100 or visit our website to get started.

What is a health disparity?

A health disparity happens when one group of people has a different health outcome than another group, all other things being equal. For example, Black women are more likely to die from breast cancer than white women. This has to do with many factors – racial discrimination from healthcare providers, financial barriers to obtaining medical care, cultural norms around preventative breast cancer screenings (such as a white actress being chosen for a breast cancer screening commercial), and racism at a systemic level that keeps all of these connected factors in place.

For the LGBTQ community, health disparities are strongly related to discrimination, hostility, and social rejection. Whether it is from a family member, friend, teacher, boss, doctor, or another person, discriminatory behavior and words have an impact on the health of LGBTQ people.

Specifically, LGBTQ people have poorer outcomes with mental health, physical health, and access to healthcare. LGBTQ people are at a greater risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts and behaviors, mood disorders and anxiety, eating disorders, alcohol and substance use, and tobacco use.

These mental health concerns tie into physical health, such as liver disease, lung disease, heart disease, chronic pain, and the many health impacts of eating disorders. Those suffering from mental health distress may also be more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior, which can lead to trauma, STIs, and unwanted pregnancy. Gay and bisexual men are at a higher risk of HIV, as are transgender women, Black men, and Latino men. Lesbian and bisexual women and transgender men are at a higher risk of breast cancer (source).

Access is also an issue. LGBTQ people are less likely to have a regular healthcare provider or health insurance. Older LGBTQ adults report poorer health, more chronic conditions, and less social support. LGBTQ people are also more likely to report poor quality healthcare, unfair treatment by providers, and general lack of cultural competence by providers.

What causes these disparities for this population?

First, the minority status of LGBTQ people causes stress. Stress is a leading cause of both mental and physical health problems.

Discrimination against LGBTQ people creates systemic barriers to accessing quality healthcare. Discrimination and harassment in the workplace against queer and transgender employees makes it more difficult for LGBTQ people to stay employed at queer-friendly jobs that provide healthcare. Discrimination from healthcare providers themselves creates lasting harm for LGBTQ patients, who carry trauma and fear around medical care for the rest of their lives. 15% of LGBTQ people report delaying care or avoiding care altogether as a result of fear of discrimination. This number doubles to 30% for transgender patients (source).

Even a well-meaning doctor who considers themself an ally to the LGBTQ community can cause harm to an LGBTQ patient through ignorance and lack of knowledge. Many transgender patients find themselves doing research on transition care and teaching their own doctors how to care for them. 1 in 3 transgender patients have reported needing to teach their doctor about their identity in order to receive adequate care (source). Medical schools do not teach hormone therapy as a standard practice; a general practitioner would have to actively seek out education in this area to become informed. The lack of education around LGBTQ health issues and LGBTQ culture and identity creates a medical environment where LGBTQ people are not included, welcomed, or accommodated.

Many insurance plans do not cover transition-related healthcare procedures, such as hormones or surgery, or the cost of these procedures after insurance is still prohibitive for transgender people with higher rates of poverty, unemployment, and homelessness. Additionally, insurance plans sometimes mistakenly reject requests, such as rejecting a transgender man’s claim for a pap smear because his insurance profile reads as “male” (source).

Lastly, there is also a lack of clinical research on LGBTQ-related health issues. Where funding and research does not exist, neither does quality healthcare.

The good news is that change is being made. Advocates, students, medical professionals, and community members are working to improve the quality of healthcare that LGBTQ patients receive. Groups like the LA LGBT Center have programs like the Trans Wellness Center which provide low-cost transition-related health and wellness services for transgender and non-binary people in Los Angeles. Legislation like S.B. 107 in California will protect transgender children and their families fleeing states like Texas, Idaho, and Florida, which are trying to criminalize access to trans healthcare for youth.

If you are searching for an LGBTQ-affirming medical provider for yourself or your child, please see GLMA or OutCare.

Here’s to good health for us all.

23 LGBTQ+ Books To Read In 2023
23 LGBTQ Books to Read in 2023 495 400 cj

23 LGBTQ Books to Read in 2023

23 LGBTQ+ Books To Read In 2023

23 LGBTQ Books to Read in 2023

By Leo Kirkham

Finding a good book is no easy feat. But whether it’s gray and rainy or shining and bright, this list of 23 new releases in 2023 books will help you get through your day with a smile on your face. Books with autistic representation are marked with an asterisk (*).

In this book inspired by modern Egyptian history, Nehal is a young woman who desires to pursue an education in elemental magic. However, her father’s debts force her into an arranged marriage with a man who is in love with another woman, a bookseller named Giorgina. Giorgina is an earthweaver with uncontrollable powers who participates in the Daughters of Izdihar, a radical women’s rights group. As tensions rise with a neighboring nation and war looms in the background, Nehal and Giorgina must struggle to earn and keep their freedom.

Young adult, fantasy

Available January 10, 2023

In this Parent Trap-style story, Edward and Billy are long-lost twins living vastly different lives–one as a prince, one in rural Montana–until a chance reunion in NYC brings them together. This story of growing pains and new beginnings is kicking off our year with a royal start.

Young adult, contemporary

Available January 10, 2023

An Armenian-American woman is thrust into a month-long event series called “Explore Armenia” by her mother, who is pressuring her to find a husband. But it’s not the mom-approved doctor or engineer who catches her eye, it’s a woman named Erebuni. As the closing event looms and her whole family will be there, her worlds – proudly Armenian, proudly bisexual – are about to collide.

Adult, contemporary, romance

Available January 31, 2023

Nova, the first Black homecoming queen at Lovett High, is found murdered. Her best friend, Duchess, is determined to expose the killer, who she believes is the beautiful, wealthy, and white popular girl who wanted the crown for herself, Tinsley McArthur. Duchess’s father is the first Black police captain in Lovett, and he falls behind the blue line and lets Tinsley walk. In order to prove that Tinsley is guilty, Duchess is going to have to get close to her.

Young adult, mystery

Available January 31, 2023

A play on the classic novel, Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg , Hijab Butch Blues focuses on a queer hijabi Muslim immigrant who is surviving her coming of age by drawing strength from the Quran.

Nonfiction, memoir

Available February 7, 2023

Another spooky read, She is a Haunting tells the story of a young Vietnamese girl, closeted to her estranged father, visiting him for a month in his French colonial house he is renovating. She wants to get in and get out of the house with the college money her father has promised her, but the house has other ideas. She keeps waking up paralyzed and covered in insect legs, haunted by the ghost of a bride who gives her one warning: don’t eat.

Young adult, horror

Available February 28, 2023

Val and Lanie, eighth graders in a mysterious small town, experience a ghost sighting. After a run-in with the school’s queen bee (and Lanie’s former friend), they accidentally summon the Ojja-Wojja, a demon connected to the town’s dark history. With all hell breaking loose, Val, Lanie, and their small group of friends must save the town.

Graphic novel, horror, mystery

Available Mary 7, 2023

From the author of Love & Other Disasters comes a story about two men hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. In a grumpy-meets-sunshine rom-com, these two men must make decisions about their journeys – on the trail and off.

Adult, contemporary, romance

Available March 7, 2023

At a scholarship dinner for her prestigious school, Waverly witnesses a brutal murder, followed by a global blackout. Waverly, her crush, and her friends must navigate through a maze of elevators, secret passageways, and back rooms to escape the masquerade ball and survive the night.

Young adult, mystery, thriller

May 9, 2023

The Season 9 winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race combines memoir, queer theory, and history into a stunning manifesto of drag.

Nonfiction, memoir, illustrated

Available April 4, 2023

As a writer at a queer magazine, Liz is not thrilled to learn that a new minority investor, Daria, is making big changes at her firm to cut costs. Daria is also critical of Liz’s writing, but just when Liz thinks she’s going to get herself fired with a mouthy comment, she spends more time with Daria and gets to know her soft side. Against her better judgment, Liz is feeling chemistry between them. Where will they go from here?

Adult, contemporary, romance

Available April 25, 2023

In this sci-fi retelling of Pinocchio, a human raised by a robot learns of his father’s dark past, and their family is suddenly on the run from authorities. To save his robot father from being deprogrammed, Victor must make decisions about what love and family means.

Adult, sci-fi, fantasy, fairytale retelling

Available April 25, 2023

Freshly out as gay to herself, and an overachiever, Margo is determined to master her gayness. In exchange for history tutoring, Abbie gives Margo Zimmerman “Queer 101” lessons. But as they spend more time together, Margo starts to realize she doesn’t want just any girl – she wants the girl.

Young adult, contemporary, romance

Available May 2, 2023

For Percy Jackson fans, this new book features the side characters and gay couple Nico and Will in a book of their own. Filled with mythology and adventure, this is a don’t-miss for fans.

Middle grade, fantasy

Available May 2, 2023

From the Stonewall Honor-winning author of Like a Love Story comes a story of three boys from separate generations of an Iranian family – one in 1939, one in 1978, and another in 2019 – each of them battling a unique challenge with their identity, sexuality, and intergenerational trauma.

Young adult, contemporary, historical fiction

Available May 9, 2023

Valentina arrives at her childhood summer soccer camp only to realize that her soccer rival, Leticia, is now her co-captain, and college scouts will be watching their skills as a team. Will they be able to put aside their differences and work together?

Young adult, contemporary, romance

Available May 9, 2023

In this young adult rom-com, Dylan wants to win the mooncake-making competition to support his family, but when distraction Theo shows up and asks him to be his fake date to a wedding in the Hamptons, can Dylan follow his heart and save his family’s business?

Young adult, contemporary, romance

Available May 16, 2023

Warnings: sexual assault

Ariana, a queer autistic girl, is a victim of sexual assault at a high school party. When an unlikely group of students emerges determined to expose the truth and defend Ariana, this brave and heart-wrenching story turns to one of friendship and camaraderie when it matters most.

Young adult, contemporary

Available May 23, 2023

The famous actor came out as trans in 2020 and plans to release his memoir this year. He wrote in his book announcement, “Books have helped me, saved me even, so I hope this can help someone feel less alone, feel seen, no matter who they are or what path they are on.”

Nonfiction, memoir

Available June 6, 2023

Set in 1990s India, a young gay man runs away to escape his father’s threats to send him to a conversion camp. He joins a street theater troupe, playing the role of humans and gods, men and women, and he finally starts to feel like himself.

Adult, literary fiction

Available July 11, 2023

This book follows a middle school girl dealing with a Crohn’s disease diagnosis and the discovery that she is queer. With humor and honesty, this book is perfect for your middle schooler or for anyone willing to revisit those painful years.

Middle grade, contemporary

Available August 1, 2023

In this Romeo & Juliet retelling, a queer teen boy in Verona, Italy harbors a secret from his family: he only likes boys, and he doesn’t want to marry a woman to uphold his family’s “honor.” One night, he sneaks into a Capulet party with his cousin and meets Valentine, the sweetest, most beautiful boy. A tender romance begins as the conflict between the Montagues and the Capulets rages on, and Romeo and Valentine are in danger of losing each other forever.

Young adult, historical fiction, Shakespeare retelling

Available August 22, 2023

In late 1800s London, a transgender boy with autism and the ability to commune with spirits falls ill and is sent away to a boarding school, where the ghosts of missing students begin asking him for help.

Young adult, horror, historical

Available September 5, 2023

Looking for fun, social programming for a teen or young adult, visit Kaleidoscope’s events page here.

Interested in therapy?  The Help Group’s Lumina Counseling has appointment availability throughout the week and weekends, both in-person and online. To learn more, visit Lumina Counseling’s website here.

Self Love on Valentine's Day
Self Love on Valentine’s Day 495 400 cj

Self Love on Valentine’s Day

Self Love on Valentine's Day

Self Love on Valentine’s Day

By Leo Kirkham

Valentine’s Day is an ancient holiday that has changed over time from a feast day to honor the Christian martyr Saint Valentine, to a holiday celebrating love and romance across the world.

Some queer and trans people feel that Valentine’s Day is an overly commercialized, heteronormative holiday. There’s a social expectation on Valentine’s Day that a man will purchase flowers, chocolates, and a Hallmark greeting card for a woman.

From a trans person who doesn’t fit this gender binary, to a gay man who would prefer to be buying the chocolates for another man, to an asexual or aromantic person who doesn’t even have an interest in the whole affair, there are many ways that this traditional Valentine’s narrative does not fit the LGBTQIA community.

Rather than participating in the commercial holiday – or in addition to it! – I suggest the following tips for cultivating self-love and community on Valentine’s Day:

Let go of the need for a date or romance on Valentine’s Day.

You don’t need to participate in romance if you’re not interested. Cancel that dinner reservation and have a cozy night in with your friends, family, or loved ones. Love can take many forms.

Make handmade Valentines instead of buying a generic card.

The love and care that goes into a handmade card can be felt by the receiver. Have fun with some arts and crafts and make your own Valentine this year.

Not feeling crafty, but still want to bring a smile to your friends’ faces? Look up some Valentine’s memes and send them the pictures!

Take yourself on a date.

Draw yourself a bubble bath, read a nice book, curl up on the couch with some reality TV and takeout… You deserve love and care too!

Volunteer in your community.

If you’re feeling lonely, the greatest way to feel connected to your community is to give back. Volunteer with a group like the LA LGBT Center and see the impact you have on others.

Write a love letter to yourself.

This one is challenging, but try writing yourself a love letter. Write down: “Dear [name], I love you. Let me count the ways.” And list 20-30 things you love about yourself, or as many as you can. Read the letter out loud to yourself. Fold it up and slip it in a safe place to come back to it and reread it later.

This Valentine’s Day, I hope you feel loved by your community, your friends, your family, and most of all, yourself.

Gains and Losses in our LGBTQ+ Community: Reflecting Back and Looking Ahead
Gains and Losses in our LGBTQ+ Community 495 401 cj

Gains and Losses in our LGBTQ+ Community

Gains and Losses in our LGBTQ+ Community: Reflecting Back and Looking Ahead

Gains and Losses in our LGBTQ+ Community

By Leo Kirkham

The New Year is a time for reflection and renewal. For the LGBTQ community, the New Year can be a time to remember the past year’s accomplishments and losses for queer and trans people.

There is no denying that 2022 was a difficult year for the LGBTQ community. From the Club Q mass shooting that left 5 dead, 19 injured, and an entire community grieving and destabilized, to armed far right Proud Boy protesters shutting down drag queen story times, our right to gather and express ourselves freely is being threatened by violence, intimidation, and hate.

2022 was a record year for anti-LGBTQ legislation: over 162 bills restricting LGBTQ rights were introduced in state legislatures. 58 were related to youth athletics, 44 had restrictions on curriculum, 30 had restrictions on adolescent healthcare, and 17 were related to religious and First Amendment exemptions.

But things are not all bad for the LGBTQ community. We are continuing to live and thrive as our authentic selves despite the hostility in the world.

In hopeful news, the House and the Senate just passed the Respect for Marriage Act, protecting same-sex and interracial marriages. Reception from the LGBTQ community has been mixed: on the one hand, the law passed and will protect same-sex marriages if the Supreme Court overturns Obergefell v. Hodges. On the other hand, it does not require states to legalize same-sex marriage, only to recognize legal marriages from other states.

Earlier this year, clinical trials began for three different HIV vaccines.

The Biden Administration began paying survivor’s benefits to LGBTQ elders.

Brittney Griner, a WNBA basketball star and Black lesbian, was just released from a Russian penal colony where she was held for ten months for possession of a vape containing hashish oil. She was returned to the U.S. during a prisoner exchange negotiated by the Biden administration.

This year, the “X” gender marker (an alternative to “F” and “M”) became available on U.S. passports. The Social Security Administration also no longer requires a doctor’s note to confirm a change of gender.

A new California bill will protect trans kids and their families fleeing states like Texas, Florida, Alabama, and Idaho which are criminalizing gender affirming healthcare for trans youth. SB 107 in California, proposed by Scott Wiener, will go into effect on January 1, 2023.

So what can we expect next year? We can only expect to see the progress that we fight for. The successes that we see in our public sphere and private lives must be celebrated as we continue to work toward justice and equality.

What are you doing next year for queer and trans kids? Some ways to give back are to donate to organizations like Equality Texas, Equality Florida, Trans Lifeline, Sylvia Rivera Law Project, and the Marsha P. Johnson Institute. You can also give a gift to a transgender youth this holiday season through Trans Santa. Consider joining your school board and advocating for LGBTQ students in your school district. Looking for more resources to support your child or trans youth in general? Check out

Next year, we can expect to see queer and trans resilience, excellence, love, and joy. We’re here, we’re queer, and it’s a new year.