James Young (he/him)
Queery: Making Queer Theory Accessible
Starting Westchester County's First LGBTQ Youth Program in 1992, Young has had a long commitment in exploring queer culture and its positive effects on the dominant cishet-normative culture.
Young is the recipient of the 2007 GLSEN Hudson Valley Leadership Award for his work with LGBTQ youth in both Rockland and Westchester Counties where he worked with numerous high schools and colleges on LGBTQ safety. He coordinated the Common Threads Youth Empowerment Retreat for several years in Rockland County where students and advisors as far as Rochester attended annually. He served on the planning committee at PrideWorks, an annual LGBTQ+ conference held in Westchester County for high school students and their advisors.
Young has had the opportunity to co-design, facilitate and train with Camp PeaceWorks in Reading, PA, working with youth on various forms of oppression (i. e. , sexism, racism, etc. ) and learning more about intersectionality, power and inclusion.
While a faculty advisor for Rainbow Alliance at Monroe College in the Bronx for three years, the college marched in their first NYC Heritage of Pride Parade in 2016 and created gender neutral restrooms on both Bronx and Westchester campuses.
James is currently a volunteer at The LOFT LGBTQ+ Community Center in White Plains, NY, where he presented at the annual gala, co-hosted the Pride Finale 2020, and currently facilitates the Men's Group, CALM/Queer Zen meditation, and Queer Community Book Club (QCBC). In the past few years, Young has created Tech Talks (a program connecting people through technology), and Veg Out (a vegetarian potluck social event to promote connections through socially conscious consumption). He is the proud recipient of the 2019 Pace University's Lavender Alum Award and currently serves on the Westchester County LGBTQ+ Advisory Board.
As the Program Director at Queery, Young has developed programs and projects to make queer theory accessible, fun and interactive. Below is a list of these projects:
- Sticks and Stones: Reclaiming Names that Were Used to Hurt Us — an art installation that stimulates discussion regarding language used against and within queer communities.
- Queer Zen Meditation — a weekly meditation group for LGBTQ+ and allied communities.
- Queery Pronoun Challenge — a social media challenge asking people and organizations to list their pronouns in their digital world (social media accounts, emails, virtual meeting platforms) to normalize the use, asking for, and respect for pronouns.
- Queer Community Book Club — A weekly discussion group for those within the queer and allied communities to connect with each other and deepen their understanding of themselves through readings by queer authors.
- Queermark — a greeting card project that celebrates queerness one greeting card at a time. Creating cards that highlight and celebrate queer experiences like Coming Out and Family of Choice.