Combating LGBTQ+ Youth Homelessness
February 19, 2021
4:00 – 5:00p
In Connecticut at any given time, 20-40% of the youth homeless population identifies as LGBTQ+. This reality is a result of policy decisions, systematic oppression, and lack of resources.
In this panel where we continue the conversation around LGBTQ+ homelessness and specifically how we can work to combat youth homelessness. LGBTQ+ youth are particularly vulnerable and often need additional support as they deal with discrimination and challenges unique to the sexual orientation and gender identity. We will talk about resources within the community and share some collective efforts being throughout the state to support LGBTQ+ youth and hopefully help address the growing experience of homelessness.
This discussion will feature thoughts from Keana Bulau, Mel Cordner and Juan Fonseca. The panel will be moderated by the Center’s Trans, Nonbinary and Intersex Program Officer Eliot Olson.
This program is made possible by :
About the Speakers
Keana (they/them) is a non-binary mental health worker and mental wellness advocate living in New Haven, CT. They have spent the last 5 years working in the mental health field in various roles; from working with youth with mental illness to victims of domestic violence. Keana found out their true passion is working with LGBTQ+ youth after interning at the LGBTQ+ youth program they used to attend as a teen Pride for Youth. During their time at Pride for Youth they assisted with overseeing the Coffee House program for LGBTQ+ youth ages (13-21) and cofacilitated the weekly transgender support group for teens. Keana is also a spiritualist with a love for holistic health and herbalism. Their dream job is to be a licensed marriage and family therapist, holistic health coach and spiritual coach.
Mel (they/them) is the founding leader of Q+, a Connecticut queer youth organization dedicated to uplifting and empowering queer youth through programs like open mics, resource fairs, weekly game nights and support groups, and GSA support. Mel has years of experience running programs and events for youth, and facilitating trainings for adults and youth alike on topics like gender, sexuality, neurodiversity, consent, college activism, and youth culture and leadership development. They work to support young folks within and ‘around’ the ‘system.’ They are an educator, advocate, writer, and all-around loudmouth genderqueer whose mission is to shake things up and leave a place more colorful than they found it.Most of they experience surrounding housing has been working with “unstably housed” youth that were not homeless enough or young enough for DCF to care about.
Juan Fonseca Tapia
Juan (el or he/him) is a Mexican Immigrant. Juan is currently working in Waterbury as the Coordinator for Queer Unity Empowerment Support Team (QUEST). Juan has acts as a community organizer and educator in Danbury and around the state fighting for Immigrants and LGBTQIA’s rights.
“La llave to find liberation is in our capacity to re-imagining power and in our ability to view the world through the lens of our ancestors.”