In 2018, Julie Strathdee, a queer gender non-conforming therapist, started a process therapy group for teenagers questioning their gender and sexuality in a tiny office in the suburb of Fair Oaks, 30 minutes from downtown Sacramento. This was the only group of its kind in the area, and some members drove over 45 minutes each way to attend, claiming it was their only lifeline in a society of prejudice and bullying. Many would disclose their struggles with self harm and attempts at suicide.
Julie saw that the group needed to evolve to make it possible for friends and the greater community to join. However, she learned that in order to continue to grow, it was no longer an option to bill the insurance of the original group members. The kids kept asking if they could bring their LGBTQ+ friends who were suicidal.
At that point it became a free public group run on a voluntary basis. Julie recruited other volunteers, specifically transgender advocates, to help lead the group and provide a gender centered approach to the existing structure, and support weekly group facilitation.
In January of 2019, Trans & Queer Youth Collective was founded to provide a safe space for trans and queer youth to promote mental well-being, receive access to gender-affirming resources, and build community.
After TQYC’s official founding, once again Julie saw that TQYC needed to evolve to provide youth with best care possible. The decision was made to move the collective in the direction of being BIPOC and Trans led.
Since then, TQYC has expanded by adding Judah to the team as the Director of Transgender Advocacy with the vision of transforming into a BIPOC and Trans led organization. Judah has since taken the highest role in the organization of Collective Visionary Lead.
TQYC now has expanded services to provide support groups every night of the week. All services remain free for youth and their families.