How it All Began...
Lambert House began in the early 1980's as the Association of Gay and Lesbian Youth Advocates (AGLYA), a group of youth and youth supporters who came together in order to create ways for sexual minority youth to meet. On May 1, 1981 AGLYA became the first organization 100% dedicated to LGBTQ youth to receive 501(c)(3) status from the IRS.
In 1991 AGLYA seized an opportunity to lease an old Victorian house in Capitol Hill, Seattle's queer neighborhood. In 1993 AGLYA was renamed Lambert House after Gray Lambert, a local queer youth advocate who helped secure funding to find the organization a more stable home. Gray Lambert died of HIV/AIDS related complications in August of 1991.
Within two years the board hired the first paid staff members. Today, Lambert House has a national reputation as a leading organization in the Northwest for queer youth.
Lambert House is a national leader in LGBTQ youth community building – the primary prevention strategy for the constellation of risks that disproportionately affects all LGBTQ youth. The risks we address include: social isolation, depression, suicide, alcohol and other drug use, HIV & other STDs, family conflict that can lead to homelessness and survival sex, and school failure. Lambert House provides LGBTQ youth with daily opportunities to make friends with other youth like themselves and with supportive adults. It is this connection with peers and adults that immediately makes life better for LGBTQ youth. Lambert House is where life gets better.
In addition to peers, more than 70 adult community members are available weekly as informal role models and mentors. These trained, long-term volunteers are consistently cited by Lambert House alumni as the most important part of their experience at Lambert House. Other socialization opportunities include community dinners five nights a week; facilitated social support groups weekly titled “Boys Who Like Boys,” “Queer Young Females,” and “Transgender Youth;” several large, annual youth-led community dances, performance events, or social gatherings annually; outdoor recreation trips monthly; LGBT movies weekly; an LGBT Culture Series including sporting events and concerts; Art Night weekly; and other ad-hoc youth-led activities such as writing groups, bicycle repair workshops, ESL classes, activist training, and theater improvisation. Lambert House is a long-time leader in programs led by youth for youth.
Lambert House educates LGBTQ youth to see themselves as normal, healthy individuals and to respect and take care of themselves and each other. We house a 3,000-volume LGBTQ lending library, and academic internships at the junior high, high school, college, and graduate school levels. We have a David Bohnett CyberCenter with seven up-to-date computers, a range of software, and free printing.
Finally, for the 17% LGBTQ youth that have been rejected by their parents, we provide dinners, case management, advocacy, and basic needs. Lambert House is the primary entry point to the social safety net for this population. Youth can also procure personal hygiene items at Lambert House, and referal to organizations that offer showers, laundry, medical care, mental health counseling, and other critical services. We refer youth to LGBT- friendly shelter beds, transitional housing, job training, GED programs, and low-cost colleges.