State of Mind with Debra Sloss
State of Mind with Debra Sloss
Supporting LGBTQ+ Teens in the Pandemic

Episode #31: After more than a year since students have regularly attended in-person school, we look at the impacts the pandemic is having on LGBTQ+ teens. Joining us as guest host for this conversation is queer community member, recent college graduate, and former State of Mind guest Adam Lanfear. Youth leaders share their experiences of coming out and finding their voices as young queer people. They outline the struggles they faced before Covid-19 and after its emergence complicated their lives even more–and they describe how they’ve persevered. These teens discuss their advocacy work, which includes creating inclusive environments, developing educational resources, and improving access to positive representation for peers. Through these activities and others, they serve as positive role models for queer and questioning youth and allies. We examine how the pandemic has changed the experience of queer youth, identify some of the challenges it’s created, and discuss how schools and communities are responding. In honor of Pride Month, come along with us to learn more about being a supportive ally, creating safe spaces for queer youth, and find out where teens, parents, teachers and others can locate accurate information, support and guidance. Hear about how gestures that may seem small, signal acceptance in big ways… and could help save a life.

Broadcast: 6/6/21

Special thanks to Jeanne Baldzikowski for audio production and to Jennifer Young for  research and outreach. And finally, thanks to acoustic guitarist Adrian Legg for composing, performing, and donating the use of our theme music.

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Local Organizations
Diversity Center of Santa Cruz County  – Website for information on local events and programs for people of all identities/ non-identities. Working to make Santa Cruz County a safe space, free of fear, hatred, and prejudice by advocating for and supporting and celebrating the LGBTQ+ community.

Queer Youth Task Force (QYTF) of Santa Cruz County An affiliate of The Diversity Center which proactively enhances understanding and responds if oppression occurs. Join the Youth Council, become an intern or share a presentation at the annual summit QYTF can be reached at 831-427-4004 or  QYTF projects include:

Trans Family Support Services – Transgender support for trans youth and their families through self-expression, social networking and community education. Includes a local chapter.

The Purple Sticker Project – dedicated to making books and other media more accessible to students in n grades K-12.

Cryptids in the Closet – a website for closeted LGBTQIA+ youth that gives resources to those in need of help without potentially outing themselves in their online history.

Out in Our Faith – a coalition of many faith communities (Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Unitarian and non-denominational congregations) in Santa Cruz County with a mission to promote the full inclusion of LGBT families, couples and individuals within the area houses of worship to fulfill their spiritual needs.

National Organizations
The Trevor Project’s – their mission is to end suicide among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning young people.

Human Rights Campaign Resources and Glossary of Terms – giving people the words and meanings to help make conversations easier and more comfortable. LGBTQ people use a variety of terms to identify themselves, not all of which are listed so the suggest you listen for and respect a person’s self-identified terminology.

GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) – promotes and ensures fair, accurate, and inclusive representation of individuals and events in all media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. 

Mental Health Support
Salud Para La Gente Mental Health – mental health support for youth and families.

Family Service Agency (FSA) of the Central Coast is a dedicated underwriter of State of Mind. FSA provides resources, support, and counseling services to adults and children.  FSA believes in the power and potential of people of all ages and backgrounds to discover their own creative solutions and welcomes people of diverse cultures, genders, sexual orientations, ages, faiths, socio-economic backgrounds.  FSA Counseling Offices offer Medi-Cal, Medicare, and low-cost, sliding scale services in both downtown Santa Cruz 831-423-9444 x200 and in Soquel 831-346-6767 x200.

Hotline Help for students and families (24 hours a day)

Adam’s Recommendation
Rupaul’s Drag Race – my favorite show when I need a pick-me-up, or just want to feel confident.


PANEL DISCUSSION: THE REAL PEOPLE AFFECTED BY ANTI-TRANSGENDER CARE LAWS– panel discussion about the lives of transgender children, the difficult decisions that parents must make in order to support these children, and the professionals who care for them. KSQD’s “Talk of the Bay” radio program and podcast | Hosted by Suki Wessling | May 17, 2021

Rates of depression and suicide in youth have skyrocketed since the pandemic. A new program seeks to break the stigma of seeking help for youth suffering from depression and anxiety and other mental conditions. The idea is to intervene early before things get to the crisis stage so that youth can weather the storms of life with more resilience. In this interview I talk with Shawn Peterson, director of Community Connection in Santa Cruz County. To get involved, call the Volunteer Center at 831-428-6977. KSQD’s “Talk of the Bay” radio program and podcast | Hosted by Rachel Anne Goodman | Nov. 5, 2021