Celebrating Intersecting Identities: SMYAL

SMYAL (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders) is a nonprofit organization in the DC metropolitan area designed to meet LGBTQ+ youth’s needs through advocacy and resources. SMYAL strives to help these young leaders build advocacy skills and access to crucial support they need to succeed. Additionally, they provide education and training programs for youth service providers working in schools, runaway shelters, local government agencies, and hospitals.

In 2017, CLASP partnered with SMYAL to conduct a focus group for the Our Ground, Our Voices report. During this focus group, the youth shared their experiences on what it means to have intersectional identities and how they overcame the harm from systems meant to protect them. More recently, we partnered with SMYAL to conduct these interviews with Camille and Safiya who talk about their sexual orientation and how they are celebrating pride amidst all of the pain happening in the world.