Hazel Grace Middour, 17, was first hospitalized for suicide ideation when she was in eighth grade, she said. After coming out to her family during her freshman year, the transgender teen said things got complicated at home. “I knew who I was but I was holding back,” Hazel said of not feeling accepted at home. “It took a toll on my emotional and mental state.”
One arrest, 10 hospitalizations, and 25 suicide attempts later, Hazel left home last September. She also withdrew from school and has yet to find a permanent home. Through it all, Hazel also dealt with internal strife prompted by her sexual identity and orientation.
“Gender dysphoria’s a (expletive),” Hazel said.
It wasn’t until December that Hazel found a program she feels would’ve helped her through the rough set of years. Youth Network Out Together, or YNOT, is a program of the Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation. Its goal is to reduce health disparities between LGBTQIA+ youth and their straight counterparts by facilitating a peer support system for LGBTQIA+ youth in the Coastal Bend, as well as connecting them to medical and mental health services.
YNOT will lead the Coastal Bend’s first gay prom for LGBTQIA+ youth June 2 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Corpus Christi. The event, which will be chaperoned by about 15 volunteers, is open to LGBTQIA+ allies and youth ages 13-24. Attendees are encouraged to dress in a way that makes them comfortable — anything from traditional prom formal wear to t-shirts and jeans or even a costume is welcome.
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