Do you think the Oakland community is supportive to the LGBTQ community? LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning. This is a person’s identity and sexual orientation. LGBTQ, has been more recognized since Barack Obama made Pride month, June in the year 2016 (Obama).  San Francisco has a parade every year, and it’s very close to the city of Oakland (OaklandPride). By analyzing the research and conducting interviews, it is clear that the LGBTQ community could feel like they’re at a supportive and safe community in Oakland, and there’s others that can feel like they’re not, which can have lasting effects on people.

Being unsupportive to the LGBTQ can make themselves feel bad about themselves if they listen to the negative comments that they get told.  According to the article “First, Do No Harm” it states “People may question themselves, have increased negative thoughts about their sexual identities, and may have a reduced level of self-esteem as a result of these messages .” The same article also stated “Discrimination based on their sexual orientation) reported increases in levels of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder” (Mikalson). This can add to why saying degrading comments can make them feel bad. Not only is that disrespectful, but it can be very unhealthy for their mental health. Having a horrible mental health is unhealthy, because people that have mental health problems often lose motivation on doing anything like going to school, work, or even being social. When being in a awful mental state people can also get into feelings of suicide or hurting themselves. Someone that was intervierwed named Kaovonne Saeturne is gay and he also doesn’t feel supported, “I don’t feel supported sometimes just because there’s a lot of judging from the way I can act and I used to get bullied in elementary so that stayed with me.” (Saeturne). Kaovonne doesn’t think that Oakland is a supportive community from his experience of him getting bullied, and getting judged for his actions. Having a supportive community is really important for people like Kaovonne that went through bullying because they could feel like they’re not important, and that’s when their unhealthy mental health cause develop or increase. The community putting others down like this is very illogical because everyone can just support one another. 

Some may believe that Oakland has enough programs that help LGBTQ mental health that may make them feel supported and safe. One of the programs is “Oakland LGBTQ Community Center” in their article they claimed “Many LGBTQ people were kicked out of their homes, disinherited, or grew up in foster care. They might not have had the support they needed starting out, which led to a lifetime of housing difficulties.”  In Oakland ¨ 40% of the homeless youth served by agencies identify as LGBTQ” (OaklandLGBTQ). Youth are being homeless for identifying themselves as being part of the LGBTQ. These youth think they’re not in a supportive community by being in the position they’re in right now and they’re being denied by their homes.

Oakland, in the other hand, can be very supportive to the LGBTQ community that help them be themselves. Oakland can be one of the places that can make them feel safe and supported. OUSD has came up with programs to welcome their young students and make them feel supported at a safe place. One of the programs that OUSD came up with is GSA day and it is celebrated in March 30. The article “The Value of GSA Day” explained why GSA Day is an important event to the LGBTQ people, and how it can preclude negative energy by saying “Being part of a GSA on campus can help alleviate that feeling, but coming together as part of a larger community was something that many participants had never experienced. Collectively, students cited feeling “accepted,” “safe” and “comfortable.” This can be very useful for students if they believe that they´re at a safe place. One of an interviewees named Isaiah Jones claimed “I’ve had a good experience in Oakland, none but love and compassion.” Something he also about his experience was “I go to an Art school in Downtown Oakland and everyone is really supportive there. There’s no judging or nothing negative so that makes me more myself.” This interviewee finds Oakland as a supportive community because he feels supported. This school has helped Isaiah be more of himself and that can help him later on stand up for himself if anything. 

However, even though there are some programs it is not enough for the Trans community. “One of the cruelest ironies is that here in the Bay Area, historically, it has been one of the few places where LGBTQ members can live in the open without fear, however this is not always true for Trans people (OaklandLGBTQ). One of the articles called “LGBTQ Health” was talking about the Trans in Oakland “Transgender women have heightened rates of mental health problems.” (Liebert) . Many Transgender women get mental problems such as depression, anxiety, and etc and that is very unhealthy. Oakland knowing that it’s something very unhealthy it doesn’t offer as much as support as necessary “As a neighboring city, the city of Oakland does not offer health and social services for transgender people on the same magnitude as San Francisco. There are no transgender-specific health clinics available, and transgender people do not experience the same degree of visibility that they have in San Francisco.” (Liebert). San Francisco and Oakland are so close together that they should have the same offering of help, but Oakland just doesn’t have enough programs. Support for the Transgender women and the rest of the LGBTQ should have emphatic suport anywhere they’re at.

In conclusion, in the community of Oakland, not everyone feels fully supported. There’s people that go through depression and mental health problems caused by the denial people, and there’s other that believe that they’re welcome and not deniable no matter who or how they are. There are people in thhe community that want to see others proud of who they are and feel safe. OUSD (Oakland Unified School District) is one of the people in the Oakland community that want them to be comfortable, “GSA Day is a participant-driven and youth leadership focused one day conference that aims to increase safety and support for our students.” (OUSD). GSA stands for Gender and Sexaulties Alliances. They plan out this day so youth can participate and learn more about themselves since it’s educational as well. Some people can also think that the Oakland community is not supportive. One of the articles named “Discrimination against the LGBTQ Community” they  stated “Oakland isn’t the safest place for LGBTQ community members to be because a lot of people when seeing LGBTQ members just being themselves they tend to judge quickly. I have seen cases in which LGBTQ members have been verbally and physically abused. I believe that this mistreatment is unfair because they have not brought any harm to the community.”

Annotated Bibliography

Gastelum, Yari, and Isaiah Jones. “LGBTQ Interview.” 22 Nov. 2019.

Isaiah Jones is part of the LGBTQ community and he attends an Art School in Downtown Oakland. He is in sophmore year of high school and so far he has had a good experience in the LGBTQ. I found him as a credible source because he has lived in Oakland his whole life and is part of the LGBTQ, so he has experienced experiences that can be way different than others. His answers and himself is important to my needs because I want to know if the community we live in is being supportive to each other. His answers were clear and I got an answer of him that yes, our community has been supportive to him.

Gastelum , Yari, and Kaovonne Saeturne. “LGBTQ Interview.” 22 Nov. 2019.

Kaovonne Saeturne is a close friend, and  he is also part of the LGBTQ and also attends the Art School in Downtown Oakland. I found Kaovonne as a helpful source because he is gay and I know he has had experiences by the people around him. He used to get bullied in elementary school when kids started noticing that he wouldn’t act like a normal boy. He would always hang around girls and would get really shy around boys, but he didn’t really pay attention to that in elementary school. Starting middle school, he thought it would be the same experience, then he officially knew he was gay when he had a crush on a boy in 6th grade. Later in 7th grade he came out to his dad which was really scary to him, but his dad is now okay with it. He hasn’t yet came out to his mom because he find it really scary for him since they don’t live in the same household and he thinks he won’t feel accepted by his mom since she’s really religious

Mikalson, Pasha. First, Do No Harm . pp. 1–248, First, Do No Harm, 

This article is about LGBTQ services that can help them with mental health and physical   health. The people that organized this article is really supportive against the LGBTQ and they state a  lot of LGBTQ facts that they’ve experienced or important information that should be known. 

Nemoto, Tooru, et al. “A Tale of Two Cities: Access to Care and Services Among African-American Transgender Women in Oakland and San Francisco.” LGBT Health, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., Sept. 2015,

This cite is about the comparison between the San Francisco and Oakland mental health support. According to this article Oakland mental health support isn’t as positve as San Francisco’s, and they’re so close together.

“Health & Wellness / LGBTQ Programs.” / LGBTQ Programs, OUSD,

This is the Oakland Unified School District website. It is talking about the GSA day and how that has been a helpful for the youth and adults. It makes them feel saurrounded by supportive people and in a safe community.

Thomas, Jillie E. “The Value of GSA Day.” Teaching Tolerance, 5 May 2016,

This cite was also based on the GSA Day and why Oakland felt supported about it. It also gave out background information of that organization, about why it was formed and how it has been helpful.

Kaly. “Discrimination Against The LGBTQ Community.” Discrimination Against The LGBTQ Community – Youth Voices, 21 Jan. 2018,

This article is based on the discrimation against the LGBTQ here in Oakland. It includes interviews from others about opinions if they think the LGBTQ communiy gets dicrimated or not. 

This is an organizatin here in Oakland for the LGBTQ. They offer services for anyone like, counseling for people with mental health issues, or if they have a traumatic past. Sometimes people from the LGBTQ go through violence, depression, homelessness, and they offer all these services to help them out. They give  alot of background information about the LGBTQ community here in Oakland as well. 

“Oakland LGBTQ Community Center: Oakland, CA.” Oaklandlgbtqcenter,

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May 12, 2020 4:27 pm

Dear Yari,
You did a great job at organizing your post in a way that flowed very easily for the reader. I particularly enjoyed the way you would mention the opposing side or Joshua’s story of how he feels supported. I completely agree with you that there is so much more to be done in order to support our LGBTQ community. Thank you for sharing how OUSD and the other programs have taken strides in supporting LGBTQ youth. I have read some articles that have shown that having a support system whether it be parents, family member, mentors, or even just a friend can make a tremendous difference in the life an LGBTQ youth and even diminish the risks of mental health disorders and suicide. As you mentioned, this may not be enough, so it is important that the city of Oakland and everywhere across the globe seek to support the community.

Sandra Plancarte
Sandra Plancarte
February 12, 2020 3:46 am

Dear Yari,

Thank you for being a voice for the community. You did a fantastic job of writing in a way that shows the complexity of this issue. There’s no one right answer since it depends on who’s answering it. Being a straight, gay or transexual person really changes the perspective. What especially stood out to me is the care you put into writing about the transexual experience. They especially have to work twice (thrice!) as hard to be accepted and supported. This is an issue that continues to hurt many people just trying to live their truth #SayHerName. Thank you also for centering LGBTQ voices too, it would be a very different article if it was just about the existence of GSA day. There’s definitely more work to be done on the ground, however, I think building community comes first. I’m glad to know Isaiah has found that. I only wish that for everyone else. Having a support group is vital to fight against things you mentioned such as depression and/or suicidal thoughts.
My question to you is– have you thought of other ways schools (or maybe teachers) can be more welcoming to LGBTQ people? I focus on schools because you’re in school and I’m student teaching at a school right now 🙂 I find this topic so important. I feel we all have the same issue. I hope to hear from you. Keep being awesome!

January 15, 2020 7:41 pm

Dear Yari,

I Think your post was great! because i really like how you want to help support the LGBTQ comunity most people won’t even like to help them because they are homophobic, But I find the LGBTQ people are regular people that we meet. I want to meet someone who is gay or transgender because I want to know what are some people that supported them throughout their change. A line that stood out for me was “Oakland, in the other hand, can be very supportive to the LGBTQ community.” This stood out for me because people in Oakland are supportive to the LGBTQ community and we can help them more if we have ask them what are some flaws that Oakland has about the LGBTQ community so we can fix them to make Oakland more comfortable for them. I agree with the point about Being unsupportive to the LGBTQ comunity because if we are unsupportive Oakland can be unsafe for the LGBTQ people. Thanks for writing and keep it up because I think you can even be a novelist and be a famous writer.

January 8, 2020 7:34 pm

Dear Yari,
I feel very supportive about your post. One sentence that really stood out to me was, “San Francisco and Oakland are so close together that they should have the same offering of help, but Oakland just doesn’t have enough programs.” This stood out to me because after you mentioned this, you didn’t mention a way that you or the Oakland community could advocate for more transgender health clinics or even places that help support transgender youth. I feel if you added this to your article it can be be more strong and it can make some people even step up and take action. However I disagree in a way because even though there aren’t places that have signs that say they support transgender there is places that are transgender friendly. Often than not there are a lot of places such as schools and afterschool programs that support transgender folk. Thank you for writing this article. I am excited to see what you write in the future.

Youth Voices is an open publishing and social networking platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.  See more About Youth VoicesTerms of ServicePrivacy Policy.All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License


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