G Philly presents a new collaboration with youth from The Attic Youth Center to spotlight the creative magic and cultural contributions of Philly’s LGBTQ youth of color. Today, we present Marcha Pieces as he talks about being the “Grandmom” of The Attic, stereotypes in LGBTQ youth, views on political justice and more.
What is your favorite thing about you?
My ability to press on, regardless of the situation. I like to have a great insight on whatever happens. I’m very optimistic. I like helping people, and that’s why I got the name, “Grandmom” at The Attic, because I’m like the cheerful person that wants to know “How are things going? How’s life?” I’m always upbeat and look on the positive side, even when there’s not a positive side. Read more »
Photo courtesy of Attic Youth Center.
The Attic Youth Center is in quite a pickle. During the snowstorm earlier this month, a pipe in their building South 16th Street froze and burst, sending water gushing all over the second floor and into the kitchen below. As a result, the entire kitchen was destroyed—the ceiling, walls, floor, counters, cabinets, appliances, everything.
Read more »
G Philly presents a new collaboration with youth from The Attic Youth Center to spotlight the creative magic and cultural contributions of Philly’s LGBTQ youth of color. Today, 18-year-old Nicole talks about her journey of self-acceptance and the need for better laws for transgender women of color.
What is your favorite thing about you? I’m outgoing. I’m really friendly, happy, and always looking forward to meeting new people.
What are you up to right now? I’m almost finished with high school. I’m a senior right now. I graduate in June.I’m trans* identified, and my transition is going the way I want it to. So, I’m happy about that. For a whole year I was going back and forth, because I was suppressing my feelings about my identity. I felt pressure from my family and things like that. I wasn’t able to say that I was trans* until last summer. I just realized that I wasn’t going to fight it anymore. I finally came to terms with that and I accepted myself. I love myself now. I’ve been on hormones for six months, consistently, and I should be changing my legal name and gender markings soon.
Read more »
Attic youth and staff at Philly Pride.
The Attic Youth Center
255 South 16th Street
The Attic creates opportunities for LGBTQ youth to develop into healthy, independent, civic-minded adults within a safe and supportive community, and promotes the acceptance of LGBTQ youth in society. It provides myriad creative outlets for local youth, such as poetry, print screening, drag, art and more.
Bread & Roses Community Fund
1315 Walnut Street
Bread & Roses, a nonprofit that provides grants and technical assistance to communities in the Philadelphia region that are taking collective action to bring about racial and economic justice, offers scholarships for LGBTQ students with the aim of giving young minds the opportunity to expand their education. More information here.
Read more »
G Philly presents a new collaboration with youth from The Attic Youth Center to spotlight the creative magic and cultural contributions of Philly’s LGBTQ youth of color. Today, 20-year-old Dorianne Joseph
What is the most common misconception about LGBTQ youth?
Most people treat people from any of those spectrums as if they’re not human. For me, coming up there were a lot of things I did in school that, because of my sexuality, people thought I shouldn’t be doing. For instance, all through high school I was a part of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). A lot of the boys felt like, “but you’re gay. Why would you want to be doing something so manly?” At the end of the day I’m still just a boy, just like you are. I can do half the things that you all want to do. I know plenty of people who come from that aspect, and that walk of life, who do normal things. I feel like we, as young LGBTQ people, have normal lives, but a lot of people think that—whether we’re lesbian, gay, bi, pansexual, trans*, or questioning—that we’re abnormal.
Read more »
Every hump day a Philly person shares their local picks for Woman Crush Wednesday. Today, Kelly Kroehle, director of The Bryson Institute of The Attic Youth Center.
My name’s Kel and though I’m not a player (anymore), I do crush a lot. These powerhouse womenpeople of Philly not only light my heart on fire, they stimulate my mind, they make me giggle, and they make my spirit feel home. Oh – and they’re not bad to look at, either. In no particular order, here are the folks who have it all.
Co-founder of the Girls Justice League and overall Wizard of my Oz, Clarice is the spirithood I aspire to. I’d say she’s my “mentor,” but that just doesn’t cut it. Neither does guru, swami, guiding light, or sage. This woman gently holds the world in her – I love the world she holds, and the hands she holds it in.
I call her Tazer because she's pew!pew! on point. Every time this Trainer at The Bryson Institute of The Attic Youth Center opens her mouth, I become smarter and/or more stylish. We first bonded over the bangin’ leggings at E-Z Pickins. Five minutes later, it was the intersection of white supremacy with the marginalization of trans* youth. If you want to be relevant in the future of the world, pay attention to Tazer – because she’s leading the way.
There is no one who can so gracefully snap me into place while lifting me into her power like Natasha Andrews, executive director of Girls Inc. There is no one who I want so badly to think I’m cool while also knowing in my heart she’s not about that… because Natasha’s cool is that natural. I’d let her take the wheel any day: there is no one whose righteous, badass coattails I’d rather ride on.
Erica embodies the ultimate, fierce Midwestern charm. But don’t get too comfortable… because there’s an emphasis on the fierce. A program supervisor at Youth Service, Inc., Erica is a delicious casserole of delights: a dear friend and a doting mom, but also a powerful writer, a tireless social worker, and an intrepid social justice warrior. She’ll warm you up and give you the low down, all in one bite. Nom!
Samantha Jo Dato
I’ve never seen this woman doing less than 37 things at once or wearing heels under 4 inches. Seriously – go into her office – she’s got a stash. And in those heels, and with that to-do list, the Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference coordinator still manages to bring a smile, a sharpness, and a sarcasm that’ll tear down the house every time.
Monique is one of those people (really, the only person) who somehow has it all together and yet remains human. She’s a therapist, a PhD student, and someone who’s going to revolutionize homegrown support networks for queer youth of color. I’m so psyched to know her! She moves through the world with remarkable poise – one hand held, one fist up, one foot down, and one heart open. And, she’s got the BEST jewelry.
When I first met Alyssa, I was an intern perched atop her file cabinet subsisting on canned peas, popcorn, and stress. She looked at me, giggled, and told me everything I’d ever need to know about cultivating support for nonprofits with integrity. Beyond lending her expertise as the development director at The Attic Youth Center, Alyssa gives the world her magic in so many ways: she’ll walk along in protest in the a.m., provide some armchair therapy in the afternoon, and work it out over pizza in the p.m.
Share your Woman Crush Wednesday!
Here are the rules: (1) Name five to 10 ladies you’re crushing on (2) You and all women involved must be from Philadelphia (3) Email your crushes to email@example.com.
We’ve been saying it for years, and we always believed it, but now there’s actual scientific evidence that proves it really does get better.
A multi-year study of LGBTQ youth out of Northwestern University’s IMPACT LGBT Health and Development Program found that, while bullying is linked to psychological distress, “both distress and victimization decreased as the adolescents grew up.” More on the study from HuffPo’s Gay Voices:
Read more »
Every Friday we spotlight a local LGBT nonprofit in Philadelphia. This week, The Attic Youth Center, an organization that works to create opportunities for and promote the acceptance of Philadelphia LGBTQ youth.
Who are you? Alyssa Mutryn, director of development at The Attic Youth Center.
When was The Attic founded? The Attic was founded in 1993 by our current Executive Director, Dr. Carrie Jacobs. When she was in graduate school, she worked in partnership with some other grad students to start a support group for LGBTQ youth in the “attic” of a social service organization. It was only supposed to be an eight-week group, but 41 youth were involved and she had to keep it going! There were no other support systems for LGBTQ youth in the ’90s, so it was important to keep The Attic alive. Now, 21 years later, we are located in a four-story row home, and between 40-70 youth, ages 14-23, come to The Attic each day. Our programming has also expanded over the years to include not only support groups, but an array of programming such as youth leadership, career readiness, arts and culture, health and wellness, academic enrichment, mental health, and education and training to improve the climate and support systems for LGBTQ youth through our Bryson Institute.
Read more »
Attic Youth enjoying a family-style meal at Oyster House.
OK, so Oyster House didn’t make the cut in this year’s Philadelphia Business Journal Top LGBT Companies list. But here’s the thing: Maybe it should have?
Danielle Amabile, pastry chef at Oyster House, had been itching to marry her education background (she meant to be an English teacher) with her passion for cooking. (But really, this gal can gab about pie-primping and pureeing for hours.) That itch grew in intensity when owner Sam Mink’s 10-year-old cousin began popping by the restaurant, routinely flocking to Amabile so she could show him the ropes in the kitchen (peeling apples, fetching ingredients, etc.).
Read more »
“It’s Philly’s LGBTQ youth that are leading the change,” says 17-year-old Bella, a high school student from Kensington. She, along with a panel of other emerging leaders in the Philadelphia LGBTQ community, kicked off this week’s Kimmel Center It Gets Better Project residency, and if last evening’s performances and discussions were any indication, Bella (and Whitney) were right: Children really are our future.
The afternoon featured three distinct opportunities for local youth to participate in community building and performance. First, students from the Kimmel Center’s Show Stoppers and Wolf Performing Arts Center teamed up to film an outdoor performance of Sara Bareilles’s “Brave,” which will be screened at Saturday’s It Gets Better Project concert. Led by touring actors Mario Mosley and Tyler Houston, the triple threats danced their way down a picturesque Philly block, causing lots of local commuters to pause for the show.
Read more »