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Stories of attacks on the way home from the bus stop, bullying in the classroom, and assaults in school hallways are all-too-frequent reminders that our community and many others throughout the US are still not safe places for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people. Perhaps what is most heartbreaking is that some youth have come to believe that this is normal, that this is just part of growing up, or that this is how life is for LGBTQ individuals. SMYAL is working to change all that by providing an inclusive environment and empowering DC-area LGBTQ youth to be leaders and advocates for themselves and their peers in the broader community. We provide youth with the opportunities, support, and skills they need to de-escalate conflicts as they occur and to work within their community to root out these conflicts from their source.
Andrew Barnett is the Executive Director of SMYAL, the only community-based organization solely dedicated to supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth in the metro Washington, DC area. Mr. Barnett joined the SMYAL staff in 2005 and as named Executive Director in February 2009. Native to the Washington, DC metro area, Barnett began his involvement in LGBT youth ad ocacy by co-founding a Gay-Straight Alliance as a senior in high school, and continued his involvement in LGBT student organizing while obtaining his B.A. at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. In 2010, Barnett received the Metro Weekly Next Generation Award, which recognizes the accomplishments of LGBT activists, artists, and leaders under 30.
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