The navigation header is hidden in edit mode.

LGBTQ+ Equity

Y.O.U.'s Point of View on LGBTQ+ Equity

Y.O.U. is committed to the full inclusion and equity of LGBTQQIA* members of our community in all aspects of our work and programming. This Point of View is integrated into the larger equity framework Y.O.U. is embracing.

We have the following goals for the intended impact of LGBTQ+ Equity work at Y.O.U.:

  • Policy: Y.O.U. continuously works to be an affirming space for LGBTQ+ and gender expansive staff, youth, and families by adopting inclusive and equitable policies and practices.
  • Intersectional Equity Work: Y.O.U. staff and participants understand the impact of sex and gender stereotypes on all people. Y.O.U. fosters the development of language and skills to respond to discrimination and bias based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. This work is placed in historical context of LGBTQ+ people and specifically the continuing systemic oppression of LGBTQ+ people of color. Staff are equipped to use this knowledge to inform their actions and speech to advocate for equity.
  • Inclusion in Youth Programs: LGBTQ+ and gender expansive youth and families in Evanston, Skokie, and Niles Township have equal access to Y.O.U.'s positive youth development services.

These goals are acheived through twice yearly new staff training, thoughtful work within specific teams, LGBTQ+ inclusive sexuality education integrated into programs, outreach efforts and partnerships, intersectional race equity work, and the continued efforts of the LGBTQ+ Working Group.

Our Commitment to LGBTQ+ Equity

Y.O.U.’s goal is to close the opportunity gap by preparing youth for post-secondary and life success. As we work toward this goal, we are dedicated to being inclusive and equitable to all members of our community.

We have formed staff committees to help form policy on specific areas of equity such as racial equity and LGBTQ+ equity. The LGBTQ+ Equity Committee made policy recommendations in May 2016 that were enthusiastically embraced by our staff.

One of these recommendations was the inclusion of gender pronouns in email sign offs and introductions.

Pronouns indicate what that person would like to be called when addressed in the third person—for example, “Tanya eats her lunch.” Including gender pronouns is part of our commitment to the full inclusion of every staff member and youth at Y.O.U. with regards to gender identity.

Y.O.U.’s work toward equity takes many forms, everything from changing internal policy to choosing local partners to ensuring we have a diverse team. Some examples include:

  • Recruiting staff members who reflect our clients’ backgrounds and experiences;
  • Continued professional development for our staff on the history of our communities, cultural competency, inclusion, and equity;
  • Seeking and incorporating the valuable input of all staff, families, and community members;
  • Partnering with local businesses, organizations, and community leaders to share knowledge, resources, and initiatives; and
  • Ensuring internal policies and practices are written and carried out with a commitment to equity, including our curriculum for youth.