The little story of YOH started when three queer youths noticed a gap in LGBTQ services in Singapore specifically catered for youths in late 2005. There were simply none to speak of.
After countless discussions and empty pizza boxes, the first run of its peer led support group programme started in Aug 2006, with 9 LGBTQ youths, all between the ages of 16 to 21. The programme’s objectives were simple: To provide a safe and inclusive space for LGBTQ youths here, while helping to build their social support between its participants by sharing of experiences and opinions.
Topics discussed within the support group includes
- Coming Out
- Identity & Sexuality
- Safer Sex
- Bullying & School Life
Fast forward 8 years and many Starbucks lattes after, YOH’s support group programme have helped over 100 LGBTQ youths, starting from the ages as early as 15 to about 22. Most of these queer youths have gone on volunteering to either be involved with other community groups, or have come back and spent their time in facilitating other runs of support groups.
Over the same time period, YOH have been reaching out to others within the larger LGBTQ community through its active participation at the annual PinkDot event. Its larger-than-life campaigns and positive messages have attracted over 600 participants at their community booth. YOH have also been co-organizing other LGBTQ youth events with Oogachaga Singapore, reaching over 120 LGBTQ youth participants in events and workshops that centered around different queer youth issues.
Though YOH have been perpetual nomads in seeking a space to hold their activities, the passion to reach out and support the local LGBTQ youth community has never wavered. One could almost liken the bond within the group like an adopted family. Just recently in early 2013, YOH have expanded their audience to include LGBTQ youth allies as well. If the past 8 years is any indicator of things to come, the journey for YOH is far from over.