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A Summer Camp for Transgender Youth

116-acre property will provide safe haven, a welcoming community, and hopefully, bug juice.

Photo via Camp Aranu'tiq's website.

In the wake of 17-year-old Ohio transgender girl Leelah Alcorn’s suicide, a community of friends, peers, and allies are left reeling and contemplating just how many trans youth need to suffer these heartbreaking consequences before we see some true progress and acceptance. “My death needs to mean something,” implored Alcorn in her suicide note, which she queued up on Tumblr to be published after her death.

Camp Aranu’tiq, founded in 2009 by Nick Teich, is a safe summer camp for transgender and gender-variant youth. There, kids and young adults like Alcorn can find a supportive community. Since launching, the camp has held multiple programs and retreats for kids, teens, and families in New Hampshire and California. They are currently raising funds to open a permanent 116-acre waterfront property in New Hampshire.

According to The Trevor Project, nearly half of transgender youth have thought about committing suicide, and one quarter have made an attempt. Additionally, a 2010 IMPACT study on LGBT youth found that the likelihood of self-harm increased by an average of 2.5 times every time a child experienced physical or verbal harassment or abuse.

It doesn’t seem fair that some trans youth are shunned and bullied by their own families while others are afforded all the love in the world, but hopefully safe spaces like Camp Aranu’tiq can shine a little light and support, paving the way to a future where the T in LGBT is accepted as beautiful, brave, and meaningful to all.

Transgender Lifeline USA: +187 756 588 60

The Trevor Project’s 24/7 private hotline for LGBT youth: 1-866-488-7386

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