While Pride March 2018 takes place Sunday, next year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, which sparked the modern gay rights movement. In conjunction with that historic milestone, New York will host WorldPride 2019, the first U.S. city to do so.
But that’s a year away, and one city institution that has long supported LGBTQ and other city youth is celebrating a golden anniversary of its own this year: Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center.
“We are New York City’s largest provider of high-quality, comprehensive, free health and wellness services for youth ages 10 through 24, ranging from primary care and mental health for all young people to special programs for transgender youth, teen parents and more,” Director Dr. Angela Diaz said.
More than 90 percent of MSAHC’s patients are people of color, and 70 percent do not have health insurance — including transgender youth, who face large inequities in health care, especially those under 18, Diaz said, who are also high risk for mental health conditions such as depression and suicidal feelings, “especially if their families are not supportive of them,” she added.
MSAHC’s programs for transgender youth are individually tailored to fit their needs, “including evaluations for gender dysphoria, puberty-blocking prescriptions, feminizing and masculinizing hormone treatments, family therapy, support groups and counseling,” Diaz shared.
Morgan, a 22-year-old transgender actor, became “a lot happier” after seeking out MSAHC when he moved to the city in his late teens from upstate, where he’d been the only out gay person in high school.
“There wasn’t much of a community, so I didn’t really have any reflection or people who were similar to me,” he shared. “Most beneficial about MSAHC was that everybody was so friendly and welcoming and validated who I was — they didn’t question my identity. They accepted who I was, and that was a huge relief to have that.”
While Morgan calls New York City “a bubble” because of its many inclusive and support efforts toward the LGBTQ community, he sees that ramp up during Pride Month.
“I see more people than I do the rest of the year be open about their identities, and I think that’s a really cool and really beautiful thing,” Morgan said.
One thing Morgan said he might’ve done differently was to “be more open about what I felt at a younger age.” He recommends others who are ready to seek support and talk about what they’re feeling, whether in trans-supportive online groups or via centers like MSAHC.
“Many of our transgender young people say the center saved their lives,” Diaz said. “We accept them as their true selves, provide a safe, gender-affirming space and help them and their families along their journey.”
For more info, visit mountsinai.org.