SAY! Stonewall Alliance Youth
The Stonewall Alliance Youth Program began in 1994 as an effort to provide LGBTQ+ youth (14-23)
with a safe space to meet other youth like themselves with the intent to self-identify according to
their own feelings. In 2006, the program became SAY! Stonewall Young Adults for young men and women
18 to 29 years of age, and in 2007 SAY! Teens began to provide services to youth under the age of 20.
Through weekly discussions, dances, and other recreational activities, the program has helped many
LGBTQ+ youth break the feeling of social isolation almost all LGBTQ+ youth experience. Weekly
sessions are non-clinical and are discussion-oriented. They provide a vehicle for discussing issues
such as "coming out," "accepting oneself," "safe sex" and HIV/STD transmission. The groups allow
young men and women to talk amongst themselves about everyday issues in an atmosphere in which they
are free to be themselves. Other activities emerge from the expressed needs of the youth themselves.
All activities are carried out with the needs of participating youth in mind.
Youth are encouraged to take a leading role in making activities happen. Leadership and
responsibility are essential to making young people feel confident about their abilities and value to
their community. Studies show that the efforts LGBTQ+ youth make in "passing as straight" detract
from the normal processes of development faced by all youth. The result is often expressed in low
self-esteem and a crisis over one’s sexual identity. Young people often turn to high-risk sexual
activity, substance abuse and suicide as a means of dealing with these conflicts. A 1989 report on
gay and lesbian youth suicide (published by the United States Department of Health and Human Services)
found that LGBTQ+ youth are two to three times more likely to attempt suicide than other young people,
and that these individuals may comprise up to 30 percent of completed youth suicides annually. Also,
LGBTQ+ youth have a higher risk of running away. The fear of rejection on the basis of their sexuality
has lead many youth to seek acceptance elsewhere. They often turn to narcotics and prostitution to
survive. The life faced by a youth living on the street includes a heightened risk of HIV infection,
substance abuse, physical violence and suicide.
Stonewall Alliance Youth has created social discussion groups for Butte County and the surrounding
area. Our groups have weekly discussions, participate in community events and activities, and are
always looking for new people to join our groups. We are inclusive to all youth.
We are a non-threatening, non-discriminatory, and safe outlet for teens aged 14-17 to talk about issues
surrounding sexuality. We are inclusive to all youth and meet every Monday from 3:30-5:00PM at Stonewall
Alliance Center. Contact Natalie Gregory at
firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
We are an open group fo young adults (ages 18-29) who meet on a weekly basis to be social, talk about
LGBTQ+ lfe in Chico, and plan events around town. We meet every Wednesday from 6:00-7:30PM at
Stonewall Alliance Center. Contact Cris Monarrez at
email@example.com for more information.
Both SAY groups offer activities, excursions, and education. These include workshops and seminars
conducted by local counselors and educators. Information and referral is available to youth, parents,
You Can Help Prevent Teen and Youth Suicide
These warning signs should be taken seriously. 75 percent of people who completed suicide communicated
some warning of their intentions, If someone you know is depressed or exhibiting any of the warning
signs, it is okay to ask if they are considering suicide. Here are some things to look for:
- A tendency toward isolation and social withdrawal
- Substance abuse
- Expression of negative attitudes toward self
- Expression of hopelessness or helplessness
- Loss of interest in usually activities
- Giving away valued possessions
- Expression of a lack of future orientation (i.e. "It won't matter soon anyway")
- Having a plan for suicide and the means to carry it out
- Family history of suicide
- Expressing suicidal feelings (i.e. "I want to kill myself," or "I wish my life were over")
- Signs of depression (i.e. loss of pleasure in activities, sad mood, changes in eating or sleeping patterns, feelings of hopelessness and expressing guilt)
How You Can Help
Listen. Suicidal people frequently feel as though no one understands them, that they
are not taken seriously, and that no one listens to them.
Accept the person's feelings as they are. Do not try to cheer the person up my making
positive, unrealistic statements. Do not joke about the situation.
Do not be afraid to talk about suicide directly. You will not be putting ideas into
the person's head. It may in fact, be dangerous to avoid asking a person directly if she is feeling
Ask them if they have developed a plan for suicide. The presence of a well-developed
plan indicates intent that is more serious.
Remove anything dangerous from the person's home that might be used in a suicide
attempt (i.e., gun, knife, razor blades, sleeping pills).
Tell a trusted adult. Do not keep it a secret. If someone you know is considering
suicide, an adult is the best person to handle the situation and offer that person help. Make no deals
to keep secret what a suicidal person has told you.
Express your concern for the person and your hope that the person will not choose
suicide but instead will stick it out a little longer.
Remind the person that depressed feelings do change over time.
Point out that when death is chosen, it is final; it cannot be changed.
Develop a plan for help with the person. If you cannot develop a plan and a suicide
attempt is imminent, seek outside emergency help from a hospital, mental health clinic or call "911".