Get Involved: Positive Images

July 20, 2015
Two brochures from Positive-Images

Two brochures from Positive Images.

Javier Rivera, Outreach Coordinator tabling for the Service and Internship Fair.

Javier Rivera, Positive Images Outreach Coordinator and SSU alumni tabling for the Service and Internship Fair.

Two brochures from Positive-Images
Javier Rivera, Outreach Coordinator tabling for the Service and Internship Fair.
Ashley Simon
Ashley Simon Alvarez

This post is part of a series that deals with intersectional gender-based violence.
Content Warning for transphobia and homophobia

Centered in Santa Rosa, Positive Images (PI) is a nonprofit organization that provides resources to queer youth and education to the greater community. There are support groups for youth exploring their genders and sexuality, safe and confidential counseling sessions with trained peers, and fun social events such as dances and potlucks.

Why should students get involved? Queer youth are more likely to be socioeconomically disadvantaged, rejected by their parents, homeless, targets of bullying, have higher rates of poor mental health, die of suicide, and many other instances of violence on both personal and structural levels that leaves no safe spaces for them to exist. 123 More so, queer youth do not share a monolithic experience and those who are transgender face higher rates of violence than their cis peers.4

When I spoke to a PI representative at a tabling event, I learned that one of the things the youth and their mentors like the most is hanging out and enjoying community. Many queer youth are not able to enjoy community due to isolation and fear that comes with marginalization.

Positive Images serves LGBT youth from 12-25 and has lots of opportunities to get help and to help others. Established in 1990, Positive Images has helped hundreds of youth, young adults, and their families in Sonoma County and beyond by providing resources and support for LGBTQ+ youth to explore their identities and form community and safety.

What majors should consider getting involved? There are a handful of majors that require internships. SociologyWomen's and Gender StudiesPsychology, and Hutchins, would be great matches for PI. If you are not in any of these departments, it doesn't mean that your field doesn't match with the organization, but it does mean that you should talk to your adviser and to the organization first about how your learning and your service and work together.

The possibilities range from short term events, such as being a dance chaperone, to long term opportunities serving as a board member.

If you belong to any of the majors that require internship units or volunteer hours or you just want to be a positive role model for queer youth in the community, check out this list of ways you can get involved with Positive Images.


1. Shannon D. Snapp, Jennifer M. Hoenig, Amanda Fields, and Stephen T. Russell: Messy, Butch, and Queer: LGBTQ Youth and the School-to Prison Pipeline, Journal of Adolescent Research January 2015; vol. 30, 1: pp. 57-82., first published on November 12, 2014

2. The Trevor Project: Facts About LGBTQ Youth Suicide

3. Positive Images: At-Risk Youth

4. Transgender Law Center: Beyond the Binary