LGBT Seminar Workshop: The Network La Red

By Teen Voices editorial intern Michelle Golden

Here at Teen Voices, we offer a mentoring and journalism program for teens in the Boston area. I am lucky to have had the opportunity this past semester to work on a Special Features article concerning issues gay teens face, with my two amazing mentees, Ashley and Danaysha. To learn more about the topic, we researched and read about the different problems gay teens face.

While on my way to a meeting at Emerson College a few weeks ago, I came across a sign that advertised a seminar/workshop on the campus with The Network La Red, an organization that addresses partner abuse in lesbian, bisexual women, and transgender relationships. The network offers confidential and bilingual services for lesbians, transgender people and bisexual women. Although at first we hadn’t considered partner abuse a problem with gay teens, we thought this would be an excellent chance to learn more about the issue and present our findings to teen girls all over the world. The conclusion we came to was that partner abuse happens to many people, regardless of whether they are gay, straight, transgender, bisexual, queer, or questioning.

The Network La Red aims to get the word out to the community that partner abuse is a community issue. The organization was formed when a group of lesbians who had been in abusive situations came together to discuss domestic violence. Now, in 2010, The Network La Red is a national educational resource for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people who have encountered partner abuse. The group is a community-based multicultural organization where women who have experienced abuse now hold leadership roles. The network seeks to create new traditions where control and domination are no longer acceptable between two partners.

During the workshop, we were asked to think of all the words that describe our sexual orientation. Gay. Straight. Bisexual. Transgender. Queer. Questioning. Those were just a few of the names participants mentioned. Each time an attendee said a word, the presenters gave us its actual definition. We also learned about what constitutes a healthy relationship — emotionally, physically, culturally, and financially. The presenters led a discussion of the different effects of partner abuse, and we talked about what to do if you – or someone you know – is experiencing abuse.

What should you do if you are experiencing partner abuse?

  • Confide in someone you feel comfortable speaking to about the problem.
  • Speak with a professional at The Network La Red or a similar organization. The Network La Red hotline number is 617-742-4911.

For more information:

http://www.thenetworklared.org

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