Meet Your Neighbor: Eli Betts

I found out about Generation Q when I walked by one day and saw a rainbow flag taped to a door not too far from my home. I immediately looked it up online and found out it was a program for LGBTQ youth and that anyone 13 or older could join. I was 12 at the time, and on the day of my 13th birthday, I walked in and said, “Hi, I’m queer.” Now, I’m 20 and I spend a lot of time helping recruit new members for the program.

Growing up with Gen Q as a part of my life helped me to become more vocal about my identity. Even when I wasn’t attending the program, I always knew there was a place I could go for advice and support. I felt like I could be myself anywhere out in the world and Gen Q would have my back. 

I’ve brought a lot of new participants to Gen Q over the years. I basically drag all my friends here. In high school, when other kids came out, I’d invite them to Gen Q. I’d see them become more comfortable with themselves over time. Now I attend events with the Program Director, Lindsey, and promote the program every chance I get. I want to make sure any young person who could benefit from the program knows we’re here.

Being involved with Gen Q can lead to some pretty cool opportunities. On June 3, I’m going to be the Grand Marshal of this year’s Queens Pride Parade in Jackson Heights. I smile when I think of 12 year old me, walking alone past Gen Q for the first time, as compared to 20 year old me, leading an entire Pride parade.

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