A Bay Area kids’ counseling service is convening online meet-ups for LGBT adults and minors to talk about gender and sexuality.
Transgender adults up to age 25 can discuss intimate topics of gender identity with kids as young as 14 through a weekly online program sponsored by Outlet, the LGBT arm of a public school therapy contractor called Adolescent Counseling Services. Also weekly, 10-year-olds identifying as LGBT can chat with teens up to age 18 through Outlet’s “LGBTQIA+ youth group.” A “Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, People of Color” meet-up is open to people aged 14-25.
The fact that these meet-ups are mingling adults and minors to talk about adult-themed subject matter has sparked concern among local teachers and parents—which echoes similar worries about the Trevor Project, a prominent national group focused on LGBT youth whose online chatroom is open to kids and adults aged 13-24. Last year the mother of a gender-confused minor discovered adults pushing transgenderism on kids through a Trevor Project chatroom, the New York Post reported at the time.
“This is extremely dangerous,” said Erin Friday, a San Francisco attorney and co-lead of Our Duty, a support group for parents of gender-confused kids. “We’re talking about 10-year-olds with 18-year-olds? I can’t think of one good reason why this should be occurring, especially behind parents’ backs. These types of groups are feeding the gender medical complex.”
Outlet advertises little gatekeeping for these sessions beyond a 10-minute video orientation, and its sign-up form asks kids if they want to keep their participation secret from their parents and whether Outlet representatives should conceal their affiliation when trying to contact the minor. Outlet’s parent organization, Adolescent Counseling Services, contracts with four Bay Area public schools and a youth center to offer onsite counseling to kids.
The San Mateo Pride Center, which says it works in partnership with Outlet and supports “LGBTQ+ community members of all ages,” is featuring Outlet’s sessions in its list of local peer support groups. Outlet itself held a $125-per-head fundraiser late last month sponsored by Stanford Medicine pediatrics, the drug giant Genentech, Yahoo, and others.
Outlet’s clinical coordinator and Adolescent Counseling Services’ executive director did not respond to questions about how they screen the group participants, why they chose these age ranges, and whether they have ways to make sure adults can’t connect with kids offline. The group’s sign-up form requires would-be participants to note their dates of birth and addresses but does not ask for proof of either. Outlet also says it schedules a 10-minute video orientation before participants can join the group of their choice.
At least one high school counseling office in San Mateo, Calif., sent flyers for the meet-ups to teachers as a resource for their students, according to an email shared with the Washington Free Beacon. The San Mateo Office of Education, which contracts with Adolescent Counseling Services for student therapy on one of its campuses, did not respond when asked how many schools have promoted them.