Why are we Empowerment 4 Girls?
Empowerment 4 Girls began as a reaction to low self-esteem and lack of self-love among teen and pre-teen girls, leading to increased anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. To combat this disturbing trend, we address harmful gender stereotypes that create skill gaps for people socialized as girls. Rather than remain complicit in the conditioning of another generation of quiet, polite, friendly, docile people pleasers, we aim to equip girls with the skills they need to be confident in their skin, advocate for themselves and others, clearly articulate their needs and wants, build a loyal and nurturing relationship with themselves, continue to work towards resiliency, and participate as active members of their community.
Over the last several years, we have received feedback from youth participants and their families that illuminated our unintentional exclusion. Some youth in our programs, raised and socialized as girls, did not identify with that label. In 2022, our board of directors and staff decided to include and invite trans and non-binary youth to our programs.
Why include trans and non-binary youth?
First and foremost, trans girls ARE girls. Our programs are open to ALL transgender & non-binary youth.
So why not just girls?
Nearly 500 bills were proposed in 2023 to block trans people from access to healthcare, education, legal recognition, and literally from existing (https://translegislation.com/). Because many of these bills explicitly limit access to healthcare for trans youth, treatment in schools, and learning opportunities about LGBTQ+ history, it is clear that their passage would be harmful to children. You likely didn’t learn about queer historical figures growing up, so if you want to, check out these articles- Queer Historical Figures You Never Knew About, 20 LGBTQ figures you should know.
The fact is that 40% of trans people have attempted suicide, and 82% have considered it (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32345113/). This trend is unacceptable and one that we hope to reverse. According to the Trevor Project, having at least one accepting adult can reduce the risk of a suicide attempt among LGBTQ young people by 40%. And LGBTQ youth in LGBTQ-accepting communities reported much lower rates of attempting suicide. We intend to create spaces where youth feel safe to be themselves. Or at least equip them with tools for their journey toward being themselves.
Trans and non-binary people have always existed, and we would be doing a great disservice by excluding them from our programs designed to uplift youth who have been persecuted and oppressed under the gender binary and in a society dominated by men. Our current role is to create a space of inclusion and safety.
Why not cis-boys?
At Empowerment 4 Girls, we understand that there has historically been a lack of education to uplift and empower girls and trans and nonbinary youth. Our current society was created by and curated for cisgender men and boys, and we want to close that gap. To be clear, we hope to develop programs for cisgender boys someday, but with our current curriculum and capacity, we support our youth who need it most at this moment.
As an organization, we still have a ways to go. For example, we are due for a name change. Let us know if you have any suggestions! Send an email to email@example.com with any ideas. We hope to serve our youth in the best and most informed way possible. That means we will be forever changing and growing to best suit the needs of our community, and right now, it is clear to us that our girls, trans, and nonbinary youth need our support.
*cis is short for cisgender (when your gender identity aligns with the sex assigned at birth). For more information, click here.