It’s always great when local broadcast affiliates show some support for sexual minority communities. We here at GayRVA do all we can (and have had some great support from our sister RVAMag) but our reach is only so far, and broadcast TV hits a different audience.
So when we heard local Trans advocate Keri Abrams and ROSMY Executive Director Beth Panilaitis were interviewed for a segment on the issues transgender teens face and Sage Smith, a trans girl who went missing one year ago, we were really excited.
Keri Abrams is a transgender woman who started to transition from being a man to being a woman in her 50s. She says it’s even harder for teens. And sometimes they look for acceptance in the wrong places and from the wrong people.
“It can be very difficult,” Abrams says. “Although the Internet has become a much more reliable source of information, there are still people on the Internet that aren’t who they say they are, and they can present a very good picture to somebody that is currently looking at homelessness. They’ve just been thrown out by their family. They have no friends. They have nowhere to go.”
And that’s where ROSMY comes in. It’s a nonprofit based in Richmond that helps LGBT teens.
“It’s a place where they can make healthy peer relationships,” says Director Beth Panilaitis. “One of the things I see a lot with LGBT youth is sometimes when they walk through our doors, there is no sense of hope. That young people cannot see a future for themselves and they are not sure what that future would be like.”