Since 1998 the Sexual & Gender Minority Youth Resource Center (SMYRC) has created safety and support for LGBTQQ youth in Oregon, through youth empowerment, community building, education and direct services.

SMYRC is a program of Q Center.

SMYRC provides safe, supervised, harassment-free, and alcohol- and drug-free spaces for sexual minority youth 23 and younger. Youth gather to participate in positive activities like art, music, community organizing, youth development, education, peer support, support groups, case management, counseling, and job readiness preparation.

Sometimes I sit and wonder where I would be without SMYRC and the people I met there.
Tara, SMYRC youth 

SMYRC provides the only drop-in resource center for sexual minority youth in Oregon. We also bring safe space and developmentally appropriate programming to other youth environments through our community education and outreach efforts. SMYRC programs align with key youth development benchmarks, like increasing academic success, reducing poverty and preventing juvenile crime. The support that youth find at SMYRC helps them stay in school, become leaders in their communities, and make responsible personal decisions.

Credible national research shows that sexual minority youth face high risk in many ways. Suicide is the leading cause of death among lesbian and gay adolescents. Without community support LGBTQQ youth are two times more likely to use alcohol, and three times more likely to use marijuana than their heterosexual peers; and they are eight times more likely to use crack/cocaine. Furthermore, LGBTQQ youth experience social and community isolation as a result of homophobia. On the other hand there is conclusive evidence that LGBTQQ youth are likely to thrive when participating in organized, adult supervised after school activities, meaning that they’re more likely to succeed in their education, and lead happy, healthy, contributing lives.

SMYRC makes a difference.

The SMYRC youth are the most amazing and inspirational people I have ever met. They have taught me everything from fighting racism to making collages in the 10 years I have been working with them. They design beautiful murals, they perform at our packed house open mic nights, they share their dreams and goals with me every week, they ride bikes, they make decisions about the policies of the center, they teach each other how to cook, they challenge each other to be stronger, bolder and more independent. They push themselves to be the best people they can be, and challenge me to many games of pool, air hockey and foosball. They read poetry, they make new friends, they build a fence and a pride float with only a few tools and a lot of great ideas. The SMYRC youth bring joy and meaning to the world we live in.”

-Zan Gibbs, former SMYRC Staff