Young Out Here aka YOH is a queer youth community group started back in 2006 by Elsa Tay, Jeremy Kwok and Benjamin Xue. It caters to queer youths between the ages of 16 to 22 and hopes to help queer youths build ties with the larger queer community.
What They Do:
YOH provides a safe and inclusive space which enables the youth to talk about queer youth specific topics and issues. The Support Group programme is composed of 13 sessions, focusing on topics like Coming Out, Family, School, Safer Sex, Relationships & Self.
How To Get In Touch:
Sign up for the YOH Support Group at young-out-here.blogspot.com. If you are interested to be a volunteer, send an email to email@example.com. You can also check out the group on Twitter: twitter.com/young_out_here and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/youngouthere
Noticing the lack of queer youth initiative in Singapore, founders Elsa, Jeremy and Ben thought of creating YOH in 2006. Ben shares, “We realized that if there was a place where we could talk about issues that were relevant for to us, we would have gotten the support and encouragement needed when we were growing up here.”
Previously, the group has also partnered with Oogachaga to organize three events - Labels to Love, Outrace, and Ties that Bind (a workshop on coming out to the family).
We sit down for a chat with Benjamin Xue, one of the moving forces behind Youth Out Here. Ben talks to us about how he believes a simple mantra -For Queer Youths, By Queer Youths - has paved the way for the group to provide a safe and inclusive space for the queer youth community to come out, speak up and have a voice of their own.
Is it easier for the younger generation to come out compared to a decade ago?
Considering I'm the 'oldest' in YOH, I can certainly say yes. They very much have the support and resources to turn to when they come out today - from Pelangi Pride Center to Oogachaga to YOH to Sayoni to online platforms like Trevvy and Fridae. Youths don't have to feel that they are alone should they choose to come out.
What are the issues that today's LGBTQ youth face today?
Lately, we've been hearing quite a fair bit of name calling and bullying that is going unreported in schools during our Support Group sessions. Making schools safe for queer youths is still pretty much unheard of, but there are strides in that some queer teachers in some schools have taken it upon themselves to make sure that these youths are safe and, hopefully the bullying stops and ends.
What are you going to wear to Pink Dot?
Pink of course! We had YOH tee shirts made for the event, and we're very busy planning our booth for the event. Do come down to PinkDot to talk to us! And most of all to enjoy and bask in the sea of Pink!
Lastly, If there's one message SG LGBTQ youths should know, what is it?
I'm going to give three. Never lose sight of who you are inside. Feel free to feel everything you want to. Be happy doing what you are most passionate about!