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Throughout the month of June, we’re highlighting organizations and initiatives that advocate for greater outdoor access among the LGBTQ+ community. Today’s feature is Yoga Forward, a nonprofit that strives to reduce suicide rates among LGBTQ+ youth through the power of yoga.
Yoga Forward is a Salt Lake City-based non-profit that shares yoga practices with “people who experience vulnerability or trauma at different points of their lives.” This includes at-risk youth, LGBTQ+ folx, veterans, prisoners, and other under-served populations.
A key factor in the organization’s focus on LGBTQ+ young people is the heartbreaking rate of suicide in this population: It’s the single greatest cause of death for LGBTQ+ youth. In Yoga Forward’s home state of Utah alone, suicide rates for youth ages 11 to 17 have tripled in the last decade (according to the Utah State Health Department), and LGBTQ+ youth are 5 times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to their heterosexual and cisgender peers.
To address this, Yoga Forward tailors its programming, with its cornerstone 200-hour teacher training, as a way to diversify who leads classes and how the instruction can support first-time LGBTQ+ participants and young people finding their path. There’s also an Out Together yoga retreat designed to help closeted LGBTQ+ folx and their families navigate the coming out process in a safe environment.
Yoga Forward provides scholarships for these programs, which you support by donating here.