OUTMemphis, Nike Pride host Queer Youth Field Day

Queer Youth Field Day

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Saturday’s rain didn’t ruin anyone’s parade or field day.

OUTMemphis and Nike Pride’s Queer Youth Field Day was just moved inside at the University of Memphis.

The center ballroom hosted games like frisbee, tick-tack-toe, hungry human hippos and genderless guess who.

"I love sporting events. I just love events where there is a lot of people," said B Lever, attendee.

But as a teenager, B Lever didn't always feel comfortable going to high school games.

"When I walked to the bathroom I'd feel them talking about me, or I'd feel a billion eyes on me," said Lever.

Organizers say that's exactly the feeling they're trying to eliminate.

"Regardless, they experience different things by the way they identify in the community. So if they have a space where individuals identify exactly like them, they're able to have fun and not worry about am I going to be targeted," said Stephanie Bell, youth services manager.

OUTMemphis' Youth Services goes beyond Queer Youth Field Day to help young LGBTQ people.

Its latest project is to open a shelter for homeless youth.

"There was a large national study done a couple of years ago that found 40 percent of youth found on the street identify as LGBTQ+," said Molly Quinn, executive director.

Currently, OUTMemphis can help people with rent assistance, but Executive Director Molly Quinn says without the shelter a critical piece is missing.

"The sort of critical gap OUTMemphis wasn't able to tackle is that first window between when a youth contacts the center and when we're able to place them in to a new apartment," said Quinn.

Quinn says it will be a 30-day shelter and will open in the next six to nine months.

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