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Originally formed 30 years ago as a volunteer group concerned with the forced detention of “cross-dressing” youth at St. Elizabeth’s Psychiatric Hospital, SMYAL (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders) has evolved into a key advocate for D.C.’s LGBTQ youth. Prioritizing sexual health and youth leadership, SMYAL offers a peer education program, HIV counseling, and the newly formed D.C. Regional GSA Network. More than 35 GSAs (Gay Straight Alliances) and 150 students and teachers have taken advantage of SMYAL’s camps and learning summits in an effort to better organize within their own schools. The organization’s efforts are a reminder it doesn’t “get better” unless someone works to make it better.