Arizona Department Of Education Directs Minors To LGBTQ+ “Chat Space”

The "Libs of TikTok noted that "the online chat room provides a "quick escape" feature in case a kid wants to hide it from their parents.

The popular Twitter account, “Libs of Tik Tok,” stunned Arizona parents on Monday when it revealed that the Arizona Department of Education was offering chat rooms to minors who believe they might be LGBTQ+. The “Libs of TikTok noted that “the online chat room provides a “quick escape” feature in case a kid wants to hide it from their parents.”

libs of tiktok

According to the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) website, “A Chat Space provides online discussion groups for LGBTQ+ teens ages 13 to 19. It is live and chat-based; there is no video or audio and conversations are facilitated by experienced staff who work at LGBTQ+ centers around the country.”

ade website page
Click on image to visit ADE website page.

However, the site, belonging to an organization called CenterLink, offers no explanation as to what LGBTQ+ centers provide the ”experienced staff” or what that experience entails. CenterLink claims to develop “strong, sustainable LGBTQ+ community centers and builds a thriving center network that creates healthy, vibrant communities.”

The Arizona Daily Independent reached out to the ADE asking whether the staff members are certified counselors in Arizona or otherwise licensed through ADE in some capacity. The ADE did not respond by our deadline.

The “Q Space” website directs minors to “Check out this video to see what joining a group will be like.”

However, a deeper look into the “Q Space” platform reveals on one webpage that “Q Chat Space facilitators are NOT mental health professionals. If you are in crisis or need help immediately, please use the resources available here.”

Minors in need of help are then directed to ”LGBTQ+ RESOURCES,” including PFLAG and Planned Parenthood.

“Support for Youth of Color” includes:

Rest for Resistance – Online healing space for trans & queer people of color, as well as other stigmatized groups such as sex workers, immigrants, persons with physical and/or mental disabilities, and those living at the intersections of all of the above

Black Trans Advocacy – Provides referrals, case management and direct services to black transgender individuals across US

Black LGBTQ+ Migrant Project (BLMP) – Supports Black LGBTQIA+ migrants through community-building, political education, creating access to direct services, and organizing across borders

NQAPIA – Federation of LGBTQ+ Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) organizations

WeRNative – Comprehensive health resource for Native youth, by Native youth

CAKE Society Co. –  BIPOC trans & gender expansive-led organization that offers a variety of health and wellness-related services to the trans and gender-expansive community

“Support with Religion/Spirituality” includes:

Keshet – Programs and events for LGBTQ+ and ally Jewish teens

Muslims for Progressive Values – Resources for LGBTQ+ Muslims

Queer Crescent – Organization that builds community, culture, safety, healing arts and justice with LGBTQI+ Muslims

Beloved Arise – Resources for youth of any faith background, centered on Christian traditions, teachings and practices

Q Christian Fellowship – Community groups, guides, and resources to cultivate radical belonging for LGBTQ+ Christians and allies

Dignity USA –  Chapter-based nonprofit organization that serves LGBT Catholics and their allies

GALVA-108 –  International organization for LGBT Hindus and Vaishnava

Sarbat – Volunteer-led group addressing LGBT+ issues from a Sikh perspective

HRC Religion & Faith Resources – Human Rights Campaign’s extensive resource on faith and spirituality for LGBTQ+ people

Institute for Welcoming Resources – List of welcoming Christian congregations, both within the United States and internationally

It is not apparent that the ADE hosts chat rooms for student who identify as “cisgender” or heterosexual.

“There is NO kind of sexual activity – heterosexual, homosexual, bi-sexual, ANY SEXUAL – that is safe for emotionally immature school-aged children,” former Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas told the Arizona Daily Independent in an email. “And yet priority of our educrats and now apparently the head of the Dept of Education, Kathy Hoffman, seems to be sexualizing children rather than educating them. And all behind the backs of unsuspecting parents who are still foolish enough to trust the government schooling system.”

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