The LGBT Bar Association of New York's Youth Qlinic
The LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York (LeGaL) believes that the true test of any community is the extent to which it takes care of its members in times of collective struggle for justice as well as in the seemingly ordinary struggles of our daily lives. To that end, LeGaL seeks the creation and expansion of legal services initiatives which provide meaningful consultations, referrals, and representation where possible, to members of our community. The LGBTQ Youth Qlinic, a partnership with the LGBT Committee of the Pro Bono Council of Sanctuary for Families and the Church of St. Luke in the Fields, aims to provide meaningful access to holistic and compassionate legal services to at-risk LGBTQ youth.
The LGBTQ Youth Qlinic (the “Qlinic”) is a project of LeGaL in collaboration with Sanctuary for Families’ Pro Bono Council to provide free short-term limited scope legal services to LGBTQ youth. The Qlinic began in approximately 2011 as an outreach program for LGBTQ youth at risk of trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. The goal was to understand and raise awareness of this largely unrecognized issue and to provide access to meaningful services when possible. Since that time, the Qlinic has grown from a series of monthly information sessions on topics such as healthy and unhealthy relationships to the provision of weekly legal consultations staffed by a dedicated core of Volunteer Attorneys.
The Qlinic takes place on Saturday evenings at the Church of St. Luke in the Fields in coordination with Art & Acceptance, a weekly program that provides a safe space and community for lesbian, gay, transgender, gender non-conforming, questioning, and allied youth ages 16-24, many of whom are homeless or struggling with unstable living situations. Each week, Art & Acceptance provides youth participants free dinner, clothing, toiletries, confidential HIV testing, therapeutic activities such as art, yoga, meditation, and sports, crisis counseling by licensed social workers and, through the Qlinic, free short-term legal
It is the goal of the Qlinic to intervene in the cycle of alienation, discrimination, and exploitation that marginalizes LGBTQ homeless youth. Through short-term legal consultations and referrals, the Qlinic connects youth participants of Art & Acceptance to legal resources to address critical needs. In each consultation, Qlinic Volunteer Attorneys identify legal issues and remedies that may be available to youth participants, and, if appropriate, refer youth participants to legal services organizations that can offer further guidance or representation. In providing these services, the Qlinic aims to foster an atmosphere of acceptance and inclusiveness, and to communicate to youth participants that their needs are visible and important and that their voices are heard.
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