Mentees are trans or gender diverse young people between 10 and 25 years old who are looking for an opportunity to discuss issues of interest, to feel heard and affirmed by a supportive role model, and to receive assistance in processing their journey of self discovery and expression.
What to Expect
The coordinator pairs mentors and mentees based on shared identities and interests, in respect of special requests when possible.
Trust that the mentor will never disclose the nature or content of the mentor/mentee relationship without the mentee’s permission.
Mentors and mentees meet once every two weeks in public places for about an hour. Meeting times and activities are flexible in order to accommodate both mentors’ and mentees’ interests and schedules. Mentors and mentees may attend community events or workshops with guardian approval.
Mentors and mentees discuss issues of interest to the mentee. Often discussions center on self-acceptance, coming out to friends or family, dating questions, religious conflicts, multiple identities (e.g. being trans and a person of color). They can also focus on academic or professional issues related to trans or queer identity.
What Mentees Say
I’ve had great conversations with my mentor. He went through some of the same things as me, like top surgery and played sports. He was helpful when I had challenges with my football team. He made me feel like there is hope being on a sports team as well as being a trans person.
Cis people, even if they’re allies, can’t always understand. With a fellow trans person you can talk freely, it doesn’t feel taboo, and you don’t have to explain stuff.
The Impact of Role Models on Health Outcomes for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth (Bird JD, Kuhns L, Garofalo R. 2012)
This exploratory study describes the presence and availability of LGBT affirming role models and examines the relationship between the accessibility of role models and health outcomes among a community-based sample of LGBT youth.
Teacher-Mentors and the Educational Resilience of Sexual Minority Youth (Gastic B and Johnson D. 2009)
This is the first study to examine the benefits of informal mentoring on the educational resilience of sexual minority youth.